July 29, 2012

Saskatoons - Unique to Canada by Ruth L. Snyder

Saskatoons are a fruit unique to Canada. Mention Saskatoons to people from other countries, and you'll likely receive a blank stare. However, people who live in Canada have enjoyed the purplish-blue berries for hundreds of years.

The name "saskatoon" comes from the Cree word, "Mis-sask-quah-too-mina". The city of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, was named after the berry. According to Prairie Berries,
"the berries were a staple for both Aboriginal people and early settlers. The berries were enjoyed fresh, or steamed and mashed and then left to dry into a brick-like consistency for longevity. Pieces of these berry bricks were then chipped off as needed and added to soups, stews or simply boiled to reconstitute them." 
Today saskatoon bushes grow both in the "wild" and as cultured plants. The bushes usually blossom in May and produce berries in late June or July. Canadians enjoy eating saskatoons fresh, or in a variety of baked goods like pie or muffins.

This week my children and I had the opportunity to enjoy picking saskatoon berries. Since we've received ample rain this year, the berries are large and juicy. This afternoon my youngest daughter and I used some of the berries to make saskatoon pie. (I found some great recipes to try on the August's Harvest website.)

Here's the recipe we used

4 cups saskatoons
1/2 cup white sugar
3 tablespoons tapioca
2 tablespoons butter
1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch double crust pie

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C.)
In a large mixing bowl, combine saskatoons, sugar and tapioca. Be careful not to damage the berries. Pour into pie crust. Cover with top crust, seal and crimp edges, then cut slits in the top for steam vents. Top with pats of butter.
Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

What is your favourite recipe to use when you have access to fresh saskatoons?

Ruth L Snyder

Check out Ruth's blogs:
www.trusteesnyder.blogspot.com(Education information)
www.ruthlsnyder.com (Ruth's writing and family life) www.earlyyearssuccess.com (Information for caregivers of children ages 0-5)

Follow Ruth on Twitter:www.twitter.com/@wwjdr


  1. What a lovely assistant pastry chef you have, Ruth. Cooking with kids makes wonderful memories. How did your Toon Pie turned out?

  2. I love saskatoons.. they make such wonderful pies and jams. And I think it's kinda neat that these lovely berries are unique to Canada.

    Your pies look yummy... and what a cutie pie helper!

  3. Sharon, we put the pies in the freezer for winter. I'm sure they'll taste wonderful then :)

    I agree with both Sharon and Brenda that my helper is a cutie!

  4. Yum, this brings back delicious memories of my mom's saskatoon berry pies and jams. And also of picking the berries while being transported from one bush to another via hordes of mosquitos - not such a nice memory!
    Pam M.

  5. Pam, your comment made me laugh. Good thing we tend to remember pleasant things longer :)


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