Our property on Whidbey Island has quite a few native berries to forage, and two types of huckleberries are healthy producers. The boys and I have been picking every few days, to nibble on and to freeze for use in the winter months as picking season has arrived. We saved enough to make a large batch of huckleberry scones, which are a very lightly sweetened treat, that the berries tartness shines through.
Red Huckleberries (Vaccinium parvifolium) grow on wispy, tall bushes with a distinctive red hued berry, that looks like a blueberry when looked at closely. They are tart little bites, and freeze well for storage. They grow best along the edges of forest where the bushes get plenty of sunny days. Here on the island we can pick from early July to end of August. Given a chance, these bushes can grow tall, and I have seen them at 9 feet or higher.
The Evergreen Huckleberry is often overlooked, but shouldn’t be. Closely related to blueberries, evergreen huckleberries (Vaccinium ovatum) are western North American native plants that grow wild from Alaska to California. The shrubs produce sweet, edible berries that are high in nutritional value for people and wildlife – and were picked by native americans. They start coming ripe in early August and onto in early Fall.
It is a prolific producer of berries, that yes, resemble small blueberries but are usually black in color (they go from tart green color, to a red, and slowly darken as they ripen).
Sometimes the berries even have a frosted blue color, with the blushing that blueberries have, when very ripe. Evergreen Huckleberry stands out with their serrated edges and very glossy, thick leaves. They have a pleasant pop in the mouth, and yes, do have a blueberry taste and are not seedy. We have one “bush” in a very sunny edge of a forest strip that is pushing over 15 feet high.
Red and Blue Huckleberry Scones
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 Tbsp coconut sugar
- 1 Tbsp baking powder
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp fine sea salt
- 1/3 cup cold unsalted butter, diced
- ¾ cup coconut cream
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup fresh or frozen huckleberries*
Preheat oven to 400°, line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large mixing bowl whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and sea salt together.
Add in butter, work in with fingers until finely crumbed.
Whisk together the coconut cream and eggs, add to flour mixture, mix in with fingers until it just comes together. Fold in berries carefully
Scrape dough onto a lightly floured surface, knead dough gently, by folding in, for about 10 to 12 turns. Split dough into half, and place on the prepared sheet, pat it into a round about 7″ wide and flatten on top.
Score with a bench scraper or knife into 6 wedges.
Brush on remaining coconut cream, with a pastry brush or fingers, then sprinkle remaining coconut sugar on top.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown on top and they look done. Let cool for a few minutes before separating with a knife.
Store covered, or freeze leftovers.
Makes 12 scones.
*Use a mixture of red and Evergreen Huckleberries. Wild blueberries can be used as well. Commercial blueberries are too delicate and will fall apart while kneading.
I used two cans of coconut cream (with a little left over) for the recipe. Heavy cream can be used instead. I find the natural sweetness of coconut shines in this recipe.