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Connecting Tastebuds To Mother Nature

Kelly's Huckleberry Pie - Andrew Zwicker Photo

What better way to connect with the earth than to wander throughout its forests, gather its bounty and enjoy its feast after an afternoon’s hike?

After being inspired one recent morning by the plump, ripe and seemingly endless huckleberries lining the Redhead trail, particularly near the summit, we set out later that afternoon on a search and collect mission for more berries. Cutting the top off of a gallon water jug and optimistically bringing along most of our Tupperware collection, we brainstormed where our best hopes of finding the best berries lied.

The undisclosed location we happened upon, a 15 to 20 minute wander into a wooded meadow not far from the highway, while not as bountiful as the high altitude Red Mountain crop, still yielded around 4 litres worth of berries.

We had duelling goals: one of us waned nothing more than to brew 25 litres of sweet huckleberry wine, while the other was on a pie baking binge and wanted to savour a sweet after-dinner tart. Without enough berries yet for the wine brewing, picker A (we’ll call her) won out. As picker B, I guess you’d have to say I won out as well. Attempting to write a story or two later that afternoon the smell of fresh pie baking in the kitchen eventually tore me away from the keyboard. Anxiously, I ploughed through dinner while the fruits of our labour lie under that crusty, crumbly crust a mere metre across the table.


Maybe it was the freshness factor, the pride of having gathered the berries ourselves, or that elusive connection to Mother Nature, but at the moment of cracking crust, fork sliding past berries and custard and tastebuds igniting I would argue that our connection to the earth was strong, not to mention delicious.

Ingredients:

1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust
2 heaping cups of huckleberries
1 cup white sugar
¼ cup butter
¼ cup all-purpose flour1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 eggs, beaten

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F (175 degrees C)
  2. Press the pie pastry into the bottom and up the sides of a 9 inch pie plate. Flute theedges. Place the huckleberries in the pie crust.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix the butter and sugar together until smooth, then beat in the eggs one at a time until light and fluffy. Stir in flour and vanilla. Pour over the top of the huckleberries
  4. Bake for 1 hour in the preheated oven, until huckleberries are soft and custard is set in the centre. Cool completely before slicing and serving.