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Saskatoons

07.29.10

This is one underrated fruit. It has pretty blooms in the spring, vibrant red foliage in the fall, produces fruit that in my opinion is tastier than blueberries, requires no special attention, and is super hardy to our climate. Let’s face it, it grows wild here. It requires no green thumb. If you like blue fruits in general, it makes excellent syrups, jams, pies, and wine. The one strike against is the few seeds in them, which for some probably compromises the texture. No biggie to my palate. Oh…and it suckers and self propagates prolifically, which to me is a pro, and to others may be a con.

I will say that the cultivated varietals I have experience with – smoky and thiessen – seem to be far superior to the wild plants. Clearly they were selected for size and flavor. When picking last year, I was astonished to learn that these things can get as big or bigger than any cultivated blueberry I’d ever seen. I also wonder if they were selected for moisture content, as these in the photo are juicier than a blueberry – wild saskatoons can be pretty dry, another reason I think some folks have a bias against.

Yields are actually heavier one might suspect: 2-3 kg/bush min up to 15kg when thiessens are catching their stride at year 7-8. I have about 20 or so young bushes bordering my front yard [roughly half thiessens], so it appears I can look forward to 40-300kg of saskatoon harvest down the road. That’s a lot of berries. Good thing they make good wine.

7 Responses

  1. I have never heard of these but am always looking for new fruit to try. Elderberries were this year’s new fruit I may have to try Saskatoons next year! Thanks for for advice on produce storage. Kim

  2. Mel says:

    They do make good wine, don’t they? Did you hear about en Santé’s Saskatoon Stomp, happening this Sunday? I’m looking forward to it! Though, just between us, I have to admit that your saskatoon wine was tastier than theirs…but shhhh, don’t tell.

  3. Kevin says:

    Kim – saskatoons have a lot of names, depending on where you’re from. Juneberries, perhaps?

    Mel – I’m unable to go Sunday, but it sounds like a lot of fun. And a lot of stained feet.

  4. We can even find Saskatoons all over British Columbia ripe for the picking. My favourite way with them is jam spread on a warm from the oven scone.

  5. I hope you post your wine making when the time comes, Kevin. Your Saskatoon Wine was the best fruit wine I have ever had. Our family has been picking Saskatoons since I was knee high. I have the varietals you have, and another one. I will have to look and post about it. It is all about the pie at our house. Saskatoon Pie is my dad’s favourite and it is a delicacy as it has to be made with handpicked berries. This is the first year I got a lot from my bushes. Mom picked them when I was away (bless her heart) and I have enough for three big pies so far, with more to come. Every other summer, the birds got most of the berries – keeping in mind that I am away all of July and the first week on August every year. (Until now.. no more. I will be here, next summer!!)
    :)
    There is nothing like a Saskatoon Berry Pie. Nothing. Or, when I was really young, we would take our buckets back home to grandma’s farm and wash them all. We would stop at Bell’s Farm on the way home to buy some cream (yes, not pasteurized and fresh that day). We would dive into an icy cold bowl of berries swimming in thick thick fresh cream after all of the work was done. YUM!

  6. Kevin says:

    BV – I adore scones. Yum. Lately I’ve been eating preserved-in-honey saskatoons in goat yogurt.
    Valerie – oh, I will be posting lots about it. This year will be heavy on apple harvest and winemaking. My saskatoon lead, sadly, has died, as the owners of the property decided to convert the berry farm portion into lawn. Sob. But I should be up and running with the production on my lot in a few years as I mentioned in the post.
    The berry and cream experience sounds sublime – a treat I only hear about with the sad decline in access to wicked fresh cream.

  7. Judy Z. says:

    FYI
    There is a berry you pick north of Onoway with tons of Saskatoons (not right at this moment of course but for future reference) Last year the price was ten dollars per ice cream pail and the were amazing berries ( not sure of the variety). I can’t imagine why anyone would convert Saskatoon farm to lawn. Since I work near Onoway I will send out an alert next year when the signs for the u pick come up.

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