The name ‘huckleberry’ gets used for several unrelated plants. This page is about the garden huckleberries that belong to the nightshade family (Solanum melanocerasum).

The nightshades with which we are most familiar in North America — peppers and tomatoes — are mostly used in savory dishes, but there are also several less well-known nightshades that are used as fruits in sweet dishes. One of these is the garden huckleberry which undergoes a remarkable transformation when cooked. Eaten raw, it has a mild tomatillo-like flavour. (People disagree about eating it raw. Some say it is poisonous; others say it can be used raw in salsas like you would a tomatillo.) But when it is cooked with sugar and perhaps some lemon juice, the flavour transforms into something very much like a berry such as blueberry or blackberry. Huckleberries are used to make jams, pies, and the like.


We’re still becoming acquainted with huckleberries ourselves so I won’t say much more here. You can follow the links below to get more information from people with more experience. I will note, however, that they need to be pre-cooked if you’re going to use them in a pie or something like that. Not everyone makes that clear, but it is an important step.

For more information, check out the pages on huckleberries by Mother Earth News and Southern Exposure Seed Exchange. Seed Savers Exchange has a post with several recipes.

SEASON: late summer and fall