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Idaho huckleberries and wild plum jam

August 24, 2010

This weekend my dad and I went up to McCall to pick huckleberries. The time reminded me of things one learns as a child in Idaho that are later easy to take for granted. Things like what a morel mushroom looks like, how to gut a trout and where huckleberries can be found. We have been taking summer trips up to McCall camping, fishing and picking huckleberries for as long as I can remember, but those things never seem as significant when you are a child. I was surprised when I moved to New York to find so many people who did not know what a huckleberry was. You can find them in specialty markets in the northeast, but to my knowledge they grow only in the west, and they only grow in the wild. They also happen to be the state fruit of Idaho. They look like small blueberries, but have a very distinct taste and if you ever come to Idaho in late August, you might think about going out looking for them. If you are lucky maybe we can go together.

On our way out for berries we also came a cross some beautiful wild plums and today my dad and I made wild plum jam. It’d been years since I helped him make jam, I’d forgotten how easy it is. What is most amazing about wild plums is that the seeds do not stay true to the parent fruit, so when you find a tree that came from a seed most likely dropped from a bird, it will in itself be an entirely unique fruit. I have plum jam, and these plums could never be bought in stores.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Allie permalink
    August 10, 2012 4:04 pm

    I have similar fond memories of spending my summers in McCall with my grandmother. I’m actually here right now, hoping to pick some huckleberries for scone and jam making! Unfortunately she can’t seem to remember the best places for picking… would you mind sharing where you’ve found a fruitful location? I know a lot of pickers are fairly secretive about their spots!

    Cheers!

    – Allie

  2. learning life from scratch permalink*
    August 11, 2012 8:53 pm

    it’s true, most pickers are secretive about their spots. even if i could tell you exactly where to look there’s no telling whether you’d find any berries. your best bet is to just look on hillsides in wooded areas, they grow all over the McCall area.

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