If it hadn’t been for my hubby growing up in Washington State, I doubt I ever would have tried huckleberries! I had never even heard of them! If you’ve never tried them either, add them to your bucket-list of must-trys!!!
These little berries are AMAZING! They look kind of like a blueberry, but they’re smaller and have a very distinct taste. They make the blueberry actually taste BLAND in comparison! Once you’ve tried a huckleberry, you may never forgive me, because you’ll never want another blueberry again!
I’m confused about that whole “they only grow on the sides of mountains” thing, though. After studying further, they seem to also grow along streams, bogs and at the base of large trees all over the south and many parts of the midwest as well. I’m wondering, since blueberries are native to New Jersey, if I can grow huckleberries on the side of the hill we live on down by the lake and next to the trees. Sounds like a perfect spot! It would definitely be worth a try!
I could not even begin to imagine having my own huckleberry bushes! I also couldn’t image having bears drawn out of the woods and into my backyard though, either. I guess I’ll just have to bring along a radio and blast some old AC/DC to scare them away! That outta do it! 😉 I’ll probably scare away every living thing within a 5-mile radius!
Anyways, I’m calling my jam “mountainside” because we do get our berries from a company that hand-picks them from bushes that grow on Mt. St. Helens. If you aren’t lucky enough to have your own bushes or live near some that you can go pick, you’ll have to do like we do and order them online.
We get ours from a father and son-owned company called Northwest Wildfoods. They have several kinds along with lots of other wonderful products. Give them a google, they’re very nice people to boot! Or discover your own company to order from, but order you’ll have to do, because stores just don’t carry them since they are very labor intensive due to them having to be hand-picked.
But, wherever you choose to order from, you might want to purchase a few extra bags because they also make wonderful pies, cakes and cobblers, too!
This jam is simple to make using the freezer method, and warmed, it’s heavenly over vanilla ice cream, too! 😉
I do hope you give these special berries a try soon, as they are truly intense in flavor and overloaded with vitamins! Have a wonderful day, and share a few jars with the neighbors! They make fabulous gifts!
MOUNTAINSIDE HUCKLEBERRY JAM
Makes 10 – 12 oz. jars
2 1/2 pints fresh huckleberries, (or frozen, thawed and drained), or 3 cups crushed
5 1/4 cups sugar
1 (1.75 oz.) box Sure Jell Premium Fruit Pectin
3/4 cup water
10 clean 12 oz. canning jars with lids or plastic freezer containers
Crush 1 cup of berries at a time with a potato masher for best results. If using a food processor, pulse to fine chop. DO NOT PUREE. Jam should have bits of fruit. Measure exact amount of prepared fruit into a large bowl. Measure exact amount of sugar into a separate bowl. Reducing sugars or using sugar substitutes will result in set failure unless you use SURE-JELL FOR LESS OR NO SUGAR NEEDED RECIPES for no or low sugar jams and jellies. Stir sugar into prepared fruit or juice. Mix well. Let stand 10 minutes; stir occasionally.
Stir 1 box SURE-JELL PREMIUM FRUIT PECTIN and ¾ cup water in small sauce pan. (Pectin may start out lumpy). Bring to a boil on high heat, stirring constantly. Boil 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Stir pectin into fruit mixture. Stir constantly until sugar is completely dissolved and no longer grainy, about 3 minutes. (A few sugar crystals may remain.) Pour into prepared containers or jars, leaving ½ inch at top for expansion during freezing; cover with lids. I used glass canning jars, left room and had no problems freezing them. Let stand at room temperature 24 hours until set. Refrigerate up to 3 weeks. Otherwise, store in freezer up to a year. Thaw in refrigerator or it will get very runny. Always store in refrigerator, too, and not room temp.
*I used frozen berries that I drained in a colander over a bowl to catch the juices. I saved the juices and added it to a pitcher of sweet tea!