Huckleberries are a rare find in Minnesota, and there is only one vendor at the Minneapolis farmer market who carries them. These sought-after berries are quite a find since they are usually only available at the end of the summer and in very small quantities; at least in my area of the state.
Three summers ago, I happened upon a table in the market with a few baskets of these unusually dark berries. At first glance, I assumed they were blueberries until I noticed a handwritten recipe casually tucked into the berries for Huckleberry Jam. Since I am a huge fan of trying everything new, I asked the adorable little woman who was selling them if I could give one a try. Thankfully, she warned me not to eat them in their raw state since they were quite bitter. Let’s just say they are not going to win any awards for best tasting berry of the year in their natural state.
She did, however, assure me that they make one of the most delightful jams out of the entire wild berry family. Now that’s quite a sales pitch, but after getting a whiff of these unassuming dark-blue berries, I had my doubts. Since I’m always up for a culinary challenge, I decided to buy one batch and give it a try. By the middle of the afternoon, I had my new huckleberry jam made, and I was beside myself excited. She was exactly right, for whatever reason, the berries in their raw state are garage can worthy, but turned into a sweet jam, they are irresistibly good! If I were to describe the flavor, I would say it’s a wonderful mix of blueberries and blackberries combined with a uniqueness of its own.
The very next weekend I returned to the market and sadly, she was sold out for the season. Now, each year at the end of summer, I make my way to her table and buy up the few basket of huckleberries available, and I stock up on this fantastic little secret gem of a jam. If you happen upon a stash of huckleberries in your area, I highly recommend you give this recipe a try. I am pretty sure it might just be your favorite new jam too.
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