Word on the street (and Instagram) is that the huckleberries are beginning to pop. Early.
As the state fruit of our neighboring Idaho, wild huckleberries thrive in these parts; look for shrubs standing several feet tall, festooned with small oval leaves. Much like morel hounds, locals rarely reveal their picking spots, but for your first forage, try to go with someone in the know who can correctly identify the edible nibs. Ranging in color from violet to black, they resemble dark blueberries and can be subbed into any recipe calling for their more prevalent kin. Flavor-wise, they pack the sweet-tart punch and their sizeable seeds add crunch. No wonder bears and birds love them so (with the latter in mind, be sure to pack bear spray on your next foraging trip).
A favorite flavor of valley jams and ice creams, we offer some fresh uses for your wild harvest:
Huckleberry Nectarine Crisp
A classic adapted from Huckleberry, the beautiful cookbook from the beloved Santa Monica breakfast spot.
Lemon-Poppy Polenta Cookie and Huckleberry Sorbet Sandwiches
A sassy frozen sandwich pairing light polenta cookies with tart sorbet.
Grilled Butterflied Leg of Lamb with Ancho-Huckleberry Sauce
This mole-like sauce complements the pure lamb flavor with notes of heat, spice and sweetness.
A tart drinking vinegar for use in spritzers, cocktails, even ice cream floats.