“Are these blueberries? Or cranberries,” I queried, knowing they weren’t quite the right colour for either.
“They’re Saskatoons berries,” the farmer’s market vender replied.
“Saskatoon berries,” I effused. “Saskatoon berries! Well, I’ll buy a carton.”
(Just an aside: “Saskatoon berries.” Say it once to yourself. Outloud. “Ssssaskatoooooon.”)
Of course, I had heard of Saskatoon berries. I had tasted their flavour in syrups and other random sweetmeats. But I don’t think I ever just ate a Saskatoon berry, straight-up.
They’re not common, I don’t think. Not many people outside of Canada have heard of them, as far as I know. They were a staple of Aboriginal people and early settlers, who would eat them fresh or steam and mash them, leaving them to dry in blocks that they could chip off to add to other foods when needed. They’re high in nutrition, including protein, fibre and Vitamins A and C. But I just like that they’re not your common, everyday berry, and they’re almost exclusively found in Western Canada.
They’re lovely. Definitely less punchy than a blueberry or cranberry. Quite mild in flavour, in fact.
The kids just want to pop them back (they’re mad about all kinds of berries), but I’d like to make something with them, that kind of showcases them in an interesting way.
I did a google search on Saskatoon berries, and found myriad recipes. For pie, tapioca, scones, cobbler, créme brulée, jam, berry sauce, muffins, tarts… the list goes on and on and on.
I really have no more clear idea of what to do with them than when I started, though.
What do you think? What would you make if you had a tidy carton (don’t know how much exactly) of Saskatoon berries? Or would you just eat them, like candy?
Give me a suggestion (preferably with recipe attached) and if I like it, I’ll try it and document the experience for your viewing pleasure.