Friday, September 19, 2014


This is for people who love nature's gift of abundant huckleberries especially this fall:

Remember the Pacific coastal Indians. They harvested huckleberries for food, of course. They also used the berry as a medicine. Medically, huckleberries have been used for heart pain, treating infections, and treating pain.

Remember the animals that feed on huckleberries. Both birds and mammals.

"Huckleberry: Mt. Hood National Forest". Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons uploaded by Duk, accessed 9/21/2014 

Now we of the current generations of human beings arrive on the scene and feast on the abundance. In that regard, recall that Mark Twain's chief character was Huckleberry Finn, perhaps the most important literary character of all American literature. By choosing the first name of "Huckleberry" Twain created an important American symbol, perhaps next to the flag itself.

My Mom made huckleberry tarts and pies. I picked them in brushy hillsides around our neighborhood in Tacoma (the second city in the broader Seattle area); she baked the goods. Since then, I've learned that the uses of huckleberries in foods are multiple: teas, candy, soup, syrup and, yes, even salad dressing.

Interestingly, I searched two large food store chains for "Huckleberry" and "Huckleberries." No results. Blueberries have captured all of the market share. Why? I'll guess it's that they are more easily grown in rows and harvested than blueberries, yielding a better economic return. Perhaps blueberry skins are of a higher quality. I like blueberries, but there's something tart, firm and natural about huckleberries that calls to me in an elemental way.

This harvest season has produced huckleberries in abundance for those who wish to pick. For any of us, the abundance may help us to appreciate this thought:

Creator God, thank you for making the earth fruitful so that it produces what is needed for life."  Adapted from Book of Common Prayer.

Some information in the post is based on the Wikipedia entry, "Huckleberries.(DisclaimerI'm not recommending medical uses of huckleberries in any way. See your doctor.)


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