Garden rails, fence posts, sidewalks - even the tops and hoods of cars - sport bluish purple splashes. Judging by this evidence that seems to be everywhere, I’m not the only one who loves them. In late summer and early fall, woods and fields are bursting with ripening Blackberries, Red and Evergreen Huckleberries, Salal berries and Oregon Grapes. Many birds and other creatures become gluttonous, stuffing themselves with the bounty and wantonly dropping their “calling cards” wherever they happen to be.
I, too, venture after berries and am no less a glutton. Earlier, when bright orange Salmonberries and small Red Huckleberries first show their colors, I snatch one or two in passing. Their colors are brilliant and, although they taste quite tart raw, they both make excellent jam, jelly, or pancake toppings. One year I had the time and inclination to make Red Huckleberry jam. Finding no recipe, I experimented and invented one. The result was quite tasty, much like Lingonberries or Cranberries.
Oregon Grapes are edible? Apparently so, although their sourness is so intense that few animals feel the urge to make a meal of them. Still, with their tempting purplish blue color, I bet they make a lovely-looking jelly. Takes a lot of sugar, though! We have a few small plants that were loaded with berries this year, so I’ve picked, cleaned and frozen them for possible future use.
The Evergreen Huckleberries are also loaded, so I’ve been picking those. Small, round, and shiny black, they are tedious to pick, but are quite edible. Unless fully ripe they can be a little sour raw, but they make excellent jam or jelly and you can just substitute them in any blueberry recipe. My favorite is apple-huckleberry pie!
yet his appetite is never satisfied.