Thursday, September 5, 2013

Berry Picking

It was the year of berries for us. 
When Michelle and Jordan came up for the Cahoon reunion, over lapping with Brad and Kelly's visit for the Hatch reunion, Michelle spotted NanKing cherries at grandma's house.  She was pretty excited when she thought of the possibilities. We had to look online to make sure they were really NanKing cherries.  Berries can be deadly right?  Gotta super make sure. 
 I happened to take a few pictures of these pretty blossoms not knowing what was in store.  

 Rio is waiting for the bees. She likes to snap at them. 

 And here they are. NanKing cherries.  They like a cold, wet climate. 
We have cold here and this spring and summer was wet. 

 Michelle was SO happy to be berry picking. 

 Had to get everyone in on the adventure.  Kelly was the only one ready for the picture. My kinda gal. 

 With all of us picking we gathered about 16 cups in no time. 

 Kelly, Michelle and I made NanKing jam/syrup while Kelly was working on wedding plans.  
We love that Kelly loves to be in the kitchen. I guess a culinary degree will do that for you. 

 These are wild raspberries you find on trails.  These were on the way up to Bear's Hump.  They are totally edible, but kinda sour and dry and weird. The bears can have em'. 

 Ok, do you know where I am?  Besides a ski lift.  Lou Lou, Dixie and I are at Castle Mountain on our way to pick Huckleberries. They grow at really high altitudes, thus the ski lift.  

These are very expensive berries.  If you buy them already picked you could be paying $7.00 for 1 cup. Something crazy like that.  These grow plentiful in Montana and at the road side stands you can buy jam and syrup and candy and ice cream all made with fresh Huckleberries.  You can see the berries are fairly sparse on these low lying bushes. 

  Yah, I know. This is a selfy.  
It might not look it, but we really were on the side of a mountain picking these berries at a pretty good incline. There are my picking pals in the background.  

 And here is our haul for this year.  Notice how we hooked our buckets onto our waist with our belts?  It is the only way to pick Huckleberries because then your hands are freed up to pick and there is less of a chance to stumble and spill your berries.  
We picked for close to 2 hours and I picked a solid 2 1/2 cups. 

 Is this not spectacular?  
Going down was MUCH better for me than going up. 
 It was long ride too, 20 minutes at a least.
Stop and start, stop and start......

 These are Chokecherries. These are much more plentiful than Huckleberries. We found a couple of good patches by chance this summer along the creek.  These have pretty big stones in them.  They are not the best tasting berry off the bush, but with a lot of sugar they make a yummy and different tasting syrup.  
 Look at how Chokecherries grow.  Almost like grapes.  You just kind of put the stem between your fingers and slide down the stem and you have a bunch of berries in no time. 

 Great picking there Clark. 

 The hills of Leavitt. Love them! 
One of my favorite things to do with Mark is get in his truck, put on some music and drive to a fishing spot.  I wish these hills could talk because I bet there are stories galore. 
This is the vantage point from our berry picking spot. 

 Mark made these cool berry picking containers out of milk jugs.  
They were perfect for holding or putting on your belt. 

 I don't have a juicer so I had to boil the berries on the stove top.  
You basically do the same thing with NanKing cherries as you do with Huckleberries.  
Boil, smash, strain, gather the juice then make your jam or syrup. 

Here is a sampling from my berry picking.  
The Huckleberry crisp was delicious!  
Put a little, or a lot of ice cream like Mark does, with this crisp and you have almost thought you had died and gone to heaven. The ice cream is almost better than chocolate. 
FYI...Lou Lou made Huckleberry Tarts with her Huckleberries and Dixie added hers to some fresh home picked rhubarb and made an ice cream topping. 
Everything you make with Huckleberries is onolicious! 


Marilou said...

Are there any other wild berries around these parts that we missed? Oh wait....."Sarvis" berries. Maybe next year I can learn to like them. Maybe.

PS....huckleberries are almost better than chocolate.

Dixie Dee said...

Summer can be so much fun, huh?
Love all the berry picking photos and projects, Yummy, Yummy, and so much fun getting the berries!
Really? Could anything be better than chocolate???

Kari said...

Oh man, WHO KNEW there were so many berries, right under your noses! That crisp you made, makes my mouth water looking at it. I bet it was fabulous. :)

Kaylynn said...

I think we have some of those cherries at our new house. I ate a couple and then looked again a few days later and they were gone. The birds must like them. Berry picking is an awesome hobby.

Christie Hunter said...

That looks like so much fun! I'd love to learn how to make those crisps. We'd have to use peaches down here. ;)