Plant of June: Huckleberry
On Shinnecock huckleberries can be found in the more “oak tree areas”. I suggest picking anywhere from the Cemetery to The Point. Look for the low lying small bush with green and reddish to brown leaves (as seen in picture). This is a great outdoor activity and fun for the whole family!
Huckleberry plants are considered by science to be a traditional medicinal plant. What does that mean, you ask? Indigenous people have always known they are good for you! They are natural way to healthier heart, relieving pain ailments and to treat or fight against infections. Science says they are full of vitamin A and high in vitamins B and C. Vitamin C we all know is very important for our bodies by keeping our immune system functioning properly. It also helps keep our hearts and eyes healthy. Vitamin B is necessary for our epidermis (skin), nerve and muscles systems. Huckleberries also contain a significant amount of potassium that stabilizes the water in our bodies.
How can I use them? Great question!
You can pick the leaves, dry them (without creating any mold) and make tea. The tea will aid the digestive system in breaking down starches and appropriately distributing them in the body. Native peoples across these lands all have ways to use huckleberries. Huckleberries can be used to make jams, pies, syrups and dried, properly, can be added to meats, veggie dishes and soups for that “just the right flavor”. Mid to end of June into July is suggested to be the best picking time, if you beat the various animals harvesting them too. These berries are ripe when dark blue or crimson purple. Enjoy, check out the recipe site listed or ask an elder or grandparent and share your experience with us.
Fish of June: Summer Flounder (Fluke)
This interesting flatfish is found in Shinnecock Bay spring through end of summer (May – September). Flounder swim very close to the bottom of the bay, making it difficult to see when you’re wading in the water. Summer flounder are like sea chameleons with a changing camouflage exterior that looks like the bottom of the bay, masking it from predators. They usually hang out in the softer sand at the bay bottom, with their eyes out waiting to catch their meal. Since they are flat, their eyes end up on one side (the left) of their bodies, thus giving them another common name “Left Fish”. Being flat they swim in a ripple wave like motion along the bottom. They are very fast swimmers and extremely good at hiding. For a fish with a diet of shrimp, menhaden, (smaller than itself) blue fish and striped bass, blue claw crabs they would have to be really fast. At any sense of danger, they will torpedo (swim as fast as they can) to the nearest seaweed, eel grass bed or dark space for coverage. Summer Flounder can weigh over 20 pounds!
The best way I see flounder in the summer time is on the “Grill”. No harm in catching a few in the summer time. Remember be mindful of how important flounder are to the estuaries, “Only take what you can eat”! Flounder are easy to cook and taste great.
Plan a day with a family on Shinnecock Bay.
Always Safety First, Suggestions: Bring an Adult, A Whistle, Water Proof Phone Case, Life Jacket, Canoe and Paddles, Fishing Pole & Line, Bait (see diet), Cooler with Ice, Pliers, Leather Gloves and A Positive Attitude. Have a Great Time!
Seneca Bowen says, “They taste great stuffed with craw-fish and dipped in warm butter”.
Happy Harvesting and remember to protect yourself from Ticks and Mosquitoes!!!
Huckleberry Wikipedia; Petersons filed guide to medicinal plants; Huckleberry health information; native huckleberry uses.
More recipes ask an Elder, Family Member or Allrecipes.com/Flounder