Huckleberry, any of several species of small fruit-bearing shrubs of the genus Gaylussacia (family Ericaceae).
Huckleberries are found throughout eastern North America and the Andes and other mountainous regions of South America.
They grow wild on subalpine slopes, forests, bogs and lake basins.
The small, round berries resemble blueberries. In fact, in some parts of the United States, huckleberries might be called blueberries and blueberries might be called huckleberries. They’re not the same fruit, though.
Telling the difference between huckleberries and blueberries is like playing a botanical puzzle where more than one piece fits each spot.
The plants can be cultivated and require acidic and moist but well-drained soil.
Huckleberry plants are deciduous shrubs or subshrubs with simple oblong leaves. Young stems and leaves can be waxy or hairy, depending on the species. The small urn-shaped flowers, sometimes solitary but typically borne in small clusters, can be greenish, red, white, or pinkish. The fleshy fruits are usually less than 5 mm (0.2 in) in diameter and contain 10 seeds. The fruits range in color from bright red, through dark purple, and into the blues.
In taste, they may be tart, with a flavor similar to that of a blueberry, especially in blue- and purple-colored varieties, and some have noticeably larger, bitter seeds.
The fruit is versatile in various foods or beverages, including jam, pudding, candy, pie, ice cream, muffins, pancakes, salad dressings, juice, tea, soup, and syrup.
There are 83 calories in 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of huckleberries.
Huckleberries are an excellent source of dietary fibre, vitamin C, vitamin K, manganese, iron, and a number of antioxidants.
The health benefits of huckleberries include the ability to boost heart health, lower cholesterol, stop DNA damage, reverse aging, promote weight loss, and boost brain health. Considered a superfood, blueberries can help fight cancer, soothe inflammation, boost immunity, enhance digestion, and prevent hair loss.
In the wild, huckleberries are consumed by bears, birds, coyotes, and deer.
Huckleberries were traditionally collected by Native American and First Nations people along the Pacific coast, interior British Columbia, and Montana for use as food or traditional medicine.
Traditional medical applications included treating pain, heart ailments, and infections.
Huckleberry (“Huck”) Finn was a fictional character in the books The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876) and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884), by American author and humorist, Mark Twain.
Huckleberries hold a place in archaic American English slang. The phrase “a huckleberry over my persimmon” was used to mean “a bit beyond my abilities.” “I’m your huckleberry” is a way of saying that one is just the right person for a given job. The range of slang meanings of huckleberry in the 19th century was broad, also referring to significant persons or nice persons.
The huckleberry is the state fruit of Idaho.