Monday, July 16, 2012 Thank you birdies for saving me some!
My gosh, the bushes had flowers on them this year like never before. I just knew it would be a festival of Saskatoon berry pies around here. However, now that our property is ten years old, the trees have matured and those berry pickin’ birds have moved right in. Out picking the raspberries this morning, I checked on the Saskatoons, and – Oh, my! – there were some deep dark and delicious moody little numbers hanging off the wet branches this morning. But, wait a minute…. the clusters as big as grapes that had hung in there after each flowers bore each berry had diminished considerably. Flutter-Flutter. Well, thank you for saving me my share, little wonders of nature! Ah, well…
What a refreshing early morning gander through the garden today! Weeds plucked and berries picked. I couldn’t pick these huge berries without thanking the Berry God in Heaven. How can one question the existence of a higher being when in the garden?
It is just such a miracle to see these little purplish globules bursting off their branches in early morning dew. There is nothing like that first one plopped in the mouth each season. Ah! Summer has come. Where is that thick cream?
I have 4 bushes in the backyard that yielded about 4 pies last year. I don’t think I will get that much this year. Not even close, after looking at what is there. But, I am thankful for what I have. Maybe these are on a two year cycle like many fruit trees. I have to do some research on this.
Meanwhile, time to savor these in my cereal this morning and to save up for a Saskatoon Pie….
I do the same thing with these berries that I do with my raspberries: save a few fresh ones for the day and freeze the rest. I always make my pies with frozen berries as I never get enough fresh ones all at once to make a pie. Ooooo, and then there is the Saskatoon Berry Galette that you saw yesterday with the Raspberry Ice Cream!
The recipe I cherish the most is my very own recipe for Saskatoon Berry Jam that has been passed down through our family for generations. I have never seen that uses such a small amount of sugar (my adaptation) anywhere, and it is the one jam we eat in this house!
I am so happy to be home this year so that I can start my day in the early morning hours before the sun has melted the dew off of the leaves. That time in the morning with my garden nurtures my soul and sets me in good stead for the rest of the day. (Not that a slice of Saskatoon Berry pie wouldn’t help!)
What do you do with your Saskatoon berries?
Kim Bee says
This makes me want to hop on a plane asap and visit you. Like really bad.
HAHAHAHA – get on the plane!
Lived briefly in Saskatchewan long ago and fell in love with Saskatoonberries. Found a bush at a nursery and planted it here in Niagara and it is now huge. Discovered they are called Serviceberries in some parts of Canada. Yield can be Large but wind, rain and the birds share has reduced this years crop…so fewer goodies…I usually share with neighbours who have become fond of them in my urban setting. I like Saskatoonberry and rhubarb combo from my garden for a pie or on their own in a crisp and sometimes mix with blueberries to stretch my supply. Some get used right away like some of the ones I picked today while the rest will go in the freezer.
This year I think I will try the jam which led me to this site. But gotta have one Saskatoon and rhubarb pie with all it memories of lovely friends in the d
days of Saskatchewan and prairie summer 🙂
Valerie Lugonja says
The jam is an incredible recipe. Not too sweet, but I do agree. The pie is the bomb.
Never had a rhubarb or Saskatoon combo. Never heard of it out here. Strawberry and rhubarb is common. Raspberry and rhubarb a little less common. Saskatoon and rhubarb not happening. I think because we love our Saskatoons just too much. But, then again – I haven’t tried it, yet!
Lydia Guerrini says
It’s so cold here in Perth! So far from berry season…I’m pining right now for some of that pie. Your pie crust looks s asking! All my food love, Lydia xxx
Oh Valerie – you have made me so homesick for Canada with this post. 🙂 I LOVE Saskatoons and there is no way in tarnation I can find them in Australia. 🙂 These baked goods are beautiful. 🙂
William Munsey says
I make juice (steamed) and smoothies. My wife makes pies, jams and sauces. She’s Japanese and had never heard of a saskatoon berry. But because of her culinary heritage, she doesn’t have the sweet tooth most westerners have so all of the things she makes out of our berries tend to be far less sweet than anything else I have ever tasted. Since the saskatoon is plenty sweet on it’s own, I always why we need to add so much sugar to it.
I completely agree. That is one of the reasons my jam recipe is so popular. It adds far less sugar than any other jam. I just love eating them fresh, yet they are such a delicacy, fresh – that I almost feel guilty gorging on them!
This brings back memories of the years I lived in Calgary. Saskatoons should be bursting forth here too, but I don’t really know what to look for. I will have to call my friend Sheryl who is originally from Saskatchewan:D
The Teacher Cooks says
Your top photo is just beautiful Valerie. Send some of the pie down my way. It is mouth watering!
I bet the birds really enjoyed their berry treat.
erica r. says
We live in Grande Prairie, just up the road is Saskatoon Mountain. The name doesn’t lie, Saskatoon Bushes covering everything man hasn’t touched. This is our first year picking, looking forward to trying your jam recipe!
The jam recipe is really good. Let me know how it works for you!.
I was looking for some ideas to use Saskatoon Berries and came across your site. What lovely pictures….yum! I have a few questions regarding the uses of Saskatoons.
Do you find that between the different “types” of Saskatoons bushes there is a major difference in taste and/or texture? I think that the few times I have tried them they have been way too “seedy” with large woody tasting seeds. Is this common or am I picking them too late? I see in the pictures you have above that yours are quite a bit ligher in color than when we pick them.
Also do you have any suggestions for removing any “wormies” that may be present. In the past I tried a salt soak but that was unsuccessful.
Thank you for your time!
Monica – Kelowna, BC
Valerie Lugonja says
Sounds like you are picking them after they have dried on the trees. There is a vast difference in size from domestic to wild Saskatoons. Wild are much smaller, and usually more flavourful. Simply more intensely flavoured, not “differently flavoured”. In Alberta, Saskatoon berry picking time is at the end of July. I would imagine that would be earlier in Kelowna – most likely a month or so earlier. I was there this year in April and it was like I flew into summer. Your vegetation was a good 4-5 weeks ahead of ours. The domestic varietals do differ in flavour and size, subtley…. and in amount of fruit per tree. The seeds are definitely bigger than blueberry seeds, but shouldn’t be that noticeable. They do have a lovely almond flavour when baked or preserved. The berries are more dense and far less juicy than a blueberry. But, they are still plump and juicy when ripe.
Worms? I think that would be a batch to throw away – or cook into jam? The way to rid the dead berries and refuge from the pickings is to put the batch in cold water and scoop off everything that rises to the top. The good berries will sink. I am not sure about the worms.
Hope that helps and thanks for stopping by!
Thank you so much for the quick response! We have at least two types in our yard. One bush only grows to be 5 feet tall max and the other is closer to 15+ feet tall! As for the quantity per tree it varies year to year depending on the winter/spring/summer weather. This year seems to be quite a good year on at least the smaller of the bushes. My daughter (6) and I will be out exploring to see what we can find on the taller one today.
I will try your suggestion with the water to get any of the bad ones out. As for wormies, yes, I did have to throw the batch out in a previous year due to them being to much for me handle. This year seems to be a much better year for no wormies!
If the weather cools down a bit we may try your jam recipe! If not I will have to clear some room out in the freezer to freeze what we get and try it later this fall.
Thanks again! Lovely site and I look forward to following your posts!
Monica – Kelowna
Valerie Lugonja says
Thank you so much, Monica,
And in my neck of the woods, there is NOTHING better than a Saskatoon berry pie. It is the ultimate prairie sweet feat!