According to thecanadianencyclopedia.ca “Saskatoon takes its name from a Cree word for the sweet, fleshy fruits, which were of prime importance to Aboriginal people and early settlers. On the prairies, saskatoons were a major ingredient in pemmican.“
In my small suburban yard, I have four saskatoon bushes, bushes that thrive as native shrubbery is wont to do, and bushes that each year fill our summers with weeks of fresh fruit literally off our doorstep.
We are in the heart of those few short weeks right now.
Out both my front and back door, these ten-foot tall berry trees are draped abundantly with blueberry-sized purple orbs of sweet, nutty, berry goodness.
We gather as many as we can, even as they slowly ripen through late July and early August, dropping them into our breakfasts, harvesting a handful as a snack, overflowing baking bowls for muffins and pies, and generally eating as much as we can for the too-short season.
If you ever find yourself visiting the prairies of Canada and looking to sample a food that many Canadians feel is a food that defines us locally, go ahead and try the poutine, enjoy fried handful of dough that we like to call “beaver tails” and don’t let anyone tell you that maple syrup is the one true Canuck cuisine.
Instead, set your heart on a slice of saskatoon berry pie, sample a bit of saskatoon preserve on your morning sourdough toast, or just go for a walk in the woods and pick a handful of these local sweet treats from the mid-forest foliage of trees that grow wild everywhere.
I’d save you some, but I don’t think they’ll last.