A few years ago, I had a huckleberry bush growing in a pot in our garden. A lovely plant: evergreen, copper-colored new growth, adorable bell-shaped flowers followed by delicious fruit. My huckleberry was doing very nicely, until, suddenly it wasn’t.
When I saw fresh huckleberries at the farmers market in my neighborhood, I was elated. I should mention I bought the last pint the vendor had. The berry gods had smiled upon me!
Huckleberries can be used to create so many delicious dishes. All things sweet like jam, pie, pancakes and muffins. And huckleberries also make the perfect foil for salmon–a bear’s dream. I decided to whip up a batch of Huckleberry Ice Cream with a lavender cream base. Oh my word. That ice cream was the bomb.
What’s the best way to get your hands on fresh huckleberries? You can sometimes find huckleberries at your local farmers market, like I did, if you’re lucky. Or if you’re game for a hike, and live in Washington State, the Washington Trails Association (WTA) has a list of huckleberry hikes, which you can find here. Mid-August through September is the ideal time to pick. Do remember that huckleberries are also a favorite treat of black bears. And of course, you can also grow them.
So guess what I’m going to buy tomorrow at the garden store? A huckleberry bush.
Huckleberry-Lavender Ice Cream Recipe
- 3 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 tablespoon culinary lavender
- 6 large egg yolks
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup huckleberries
Making the ice cream
- Heat the heavy cream, milk, and lavender buds in a medium saucepan, until it begins to bubble.
- Remove pan from heat, cover, and let the lavender steep for 30 minutes. Pour the mixture through a strainer to remove the lavender.
- Return the milk to the saucepan and heat until it almost reaches a boil.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar until they become thick and pale. Slowly add the hot milk to the eggs, whisking constantly.
- Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium heat, continuously stirring until the mixture coats the back of the spoon (2-3 minutes). Remove from heat, pour the mixture through a strainer, and cool completely (either in the refrigerator in in a prepared ice bath). Stir in the vanilla, and fold in the huckleberries.
- Process in an ice-cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions and store in freezer for up to one week.
Take the road less traveled, Beth