You have never heard of a Saskatoon Berry, well that may be because
you are not from the Canadian Prairies, where they grow everywhere.
Although the more I travel, I have found that they grow in more places
then the prairies or Canada for that matter.
They even grow here in Upper Michigan ~ but most people don’t eat them here and lots feel that they are poisonous.
But they aren’t poisonous or I would have been dead a long time ago.
They also have many different names…. Serviceberry, June berries, Shadberries, Sugar pear or Sugar plums..
So maybe now you know what I am talking about.
The Saskatoon berry are similar in size of the blueberry but have a purplish colour to them. The grow on bushes that can be as high as 15 feet. The name of Saskatoon is derived from a Cree word for the bush – Mis-sak-quah-too-mina.
The Native Americans used the berries for medicinal purpose. The berries have now been found to be high in antioxidants especially phenolics, flavonols and anthrocyanins. They are also a high source of Vitamin A and Vitamin C.
Saskatoon berries were enjoyed by the early Native Americans and settlers and continue to be enjoyed by generations that followed. I remember going to pick Saskatoons with my mother or grandmother. Although picking with mom was always fun as we could eat as many as we wanted and run and play in the trees, watch the cows in nearby fields and it wouldn’t matter so much how many we picked to take home… Picking with grandma was more of a job, she expected us to pick berries and not eat them and we were always expected to pick so many gallons before we could go and play. Grandma also taught me how to pick these berries clean, which decreased the workload when we got home with what felt like thousand of gallons of berries. My mom would can many jars of berries to be eaten over the winter and freeze many for pies. We also would make Saskatoon berry jams and sauces. My dad still goes out each year and picks berries.
These berries are probably one of my favorite berry and something that I missed after moving away from Canada. I love Saskatoon berry pie. I was so excited when a couple of years ago, my husband and I went to our now favorite beach on Lake Superior… and I found Saskatoon bushes. I don’t pick thousand of gallons of berries like I did as a child and my scenery is the lake instead of open fields, but I am able to bring a part of my childhood back to me.
I found a package of berries in my freezer that I had forgotten. I didn’t have enough for a pie but was able to make Saskatoon berry sauce to enjoy with our oven pancakes. I will leave you the recipe for the sauce but if you want my recipe for oven pancakes you can go here.
- 1 cup Saskatoon berries - frozen or fresh
- ¼ cup sugar - adjust for taste
- 2 tbsp water if using fresh berries
- 1 tbsp corn starch
- Place berries, sugar, and water (if using fresh) in saucepan and cook over medium heat until berries are soft.
- Add corn starch and stir and continue to cook until sauce begins to thicken.
Many Canadians, myself included would tell you that you don’t know what you are missing if you haven’t tried Saskatoon Berries. If you ever have a chance of trying them, take it up… They are great, colourful, flavourful and nutritional and in one little berry.
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