Ultimate Montana Summer: Improve your huckleberry game with these recipes

Welcome to our series, “Ultimate Montana Summer,” where we share our favorite things about Montana’s unbeatable summers. In this series, we share a Western Montana summer through the eyes of long-time residents. 

Montana is the “Treasure State” and while our flag bears the motto, “oro y plata” (gold and silver), there are countless other treasures to be had in Montana. Wild huckleberris is one of them. 

Finding them is exhilarating, picking them is addictive, and eating them is what summer is all about. If you’ve lived in Montana long enough, it’s easy to get in a “huckleberry rut,” meaning you make the same huckleberry dishes summer in and summer out, if you make them at all! 

We’re here to help. Should you actually harvest enough huckleberries to take home, here are a few recipes that will help you to up your huckleberry game…

NOTE: If you aren’t able to pick huckleberries yourself, look for them at local Farmers’ Markets. They are not cheap, but they are worth every penny. 

Huckleberry Martini

This recipe is going to make your entire summer for two reasons: 

  • You will be introduced to Willie’s Huckleberry Sweet Cream Liqueur (if you are not already familiar)
  • You will learn how to use said liqueur in a huckleberry martini

Willie’s Huckleberry Sweet Cream Liqueur out of Willie’s Distillery in Ennis Montana is amazing all by itself over ice. But if you want a drink that will make you wish the day would never end, try a huckleberry martini (or two):

1oz Huckleberry Cream Liqueur

1oz Snowcrest Vodka

1oz Simple Syrup

Add all ingredients to a shaker filled with ice, shake well. Strain into a martini glass, top with a few fresh huckleberries. 

Recipe via Willie’s Distillery, image via Lily the Wandering Gypsy 

Huckleberry Pie

I know what you may be thinking, “How will a pie up my huckleberry game?” but you have not really had huckleberry pie until you have had it baked in a cast iron pan. I learned this trick when I was volunteering as a packer’s assistant in Glacier National Park and had all the ingredients for huckleberry pie except a pie pan. Consumed with doubt, I used a cast iron pan in the oven, and it was the best pie I’ve ever had!

To experience this summer masterpiece, merely find your favorite blueberry or huckleberry pie recipe and bake it in a well-seasoned/oiled cast iron pan! Click here for a super easy huckleberry pie recipe (it uses Pillsbury pie dough!). 

If you’d like to make your own dough, I will share here my Aunt Delia’s pie crust recipe. I struggled for YEARS making pie dough crust until I started using this recipe:

Cut one cup of shortening into 2 3/4 cups flour.

Lightly beat an egg yolk and add enough milk to it to make 3/4 cup.

Add to flour, mix by hand until just wet. Done.

Note: The original recipe calls for 2/3 cup milk but I have better luck with a bit more liquid. 

Use the egg white to brush the top crust — makes it lovely.

Image via Sunset 

Grilled Salmon with Huckleberry Relish

Probably one of my favorite ways to eat huckleberries is over grilled salmon. While most of these recipes involve a sweet huckleberry reduction (which is also good), this huckleberry relish is a welcome spin on a classic favorite. Click here to get the recipe.

Image via Feasting at Home

Huckleberry Lemon Cake

I made this once for my Argentine son-in-law, and now it is a summer favorite in my family. If you love easy recipes that make your loved ones sing with joy, and that make you look like a culinary genius, you must give this a try. Just switch out the blueberries for huckleberries!

 

Click here for the recipe.

There are countless ways to enjoy one of Montana’s wildest and most delicious fruit. Huckleberries are also fantastic over ice cream with some manner of dark chocolate, or as a unique addition to a pudding parfait. Regardless of how you choose to celebrate huckleberries this summer, remember that this treasured berry has a small season, so don’t let it pass you by!

Kat Hobza has lived in Montana since she was nine, and was raised in the mountains west of Victor, Montana. There she learned to hunt, fish, shoot competitively, chop and stack firewood, and drive on icy or muddy roads. Kat has over two decades of experience in professional writing and content marketing. When she’s not crafting copy for Glacier Sotheby’s International Realty, she’s either hanging with her hilarious adult kids or soaking up the sun somewhere – a riverbank, a golf course, or her deck.

 

 

 

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