Saskatoon Berry Tart Recipe

Saskatoon Berry Tart

Two years ago, I received a sweet email from a Canadian woman named Delphine. She explained that she and her French boyfriend run a farm in the Aube, about two and a half hours to the Southeast of Paris, on which they grow — among other things — Saskatoon berries*. Did I know this North American fruit? Did I want to try it?

A new fruit! One I’d never even heard of! Of course I wanted to taste it!

Because Saskatoon berries are only in season for a short period of time in late June (this explains why they’re also called Juneberries), the window in which to obtain fresh berries was rather narrow, and we couldn’t make it work that year, or the next. But Delphine is nothing if not persistent, and the third time was a charm: this year, her younger sister, who lives in Paris, was able to drop by my apartment and kindly deliver a few baskets of the dark purple beauties.

Although the looks and common names of the amelanchier alnifolia make it seem a berry**, botanists will tell you that it is in fact a pome, like the apple and the pear. It grows in clumps on tall shrubs, in the wild or in orchards. It is native to Alaska, Western Canada (like Delphine, who is from Calgary), and to the Northwestern to North Central states of the United States, but it is little known beyond those areas.

Flavorwise, I find it to be a cross between the blueberry and the blackberry: not quite as sweet and a little more mealy, but fragrant, with a lingering hint of almond. They are said to be full of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, so they may very well be the next superfood everyone goes crazy over.

We ate some of ours raw — on their own or with yogurt — and because it seemed the Saskatoon berry would thrive wherever the blueberry does, I decided to make a tart inspired by my mother’s blueberry tart, and serve it to friends we’d invited over for a SingStar party.

I used my mother’s easy pâte sablée, which blessedly requires no rolling, only I added a teaspoon of white vinegar to the mix, having recently read that the acid helps make tart crusts flakier by weakening the gluten network. This was confirmed by Harold McGee’s indispensable On Food and Cooking***, and by the delicate texture of my tart crust.

I had a handful of fresh black currants to use so I threw them in with the berries, and I also decided to add almond meal to the filling, to accent that side of the berries’ personality, and to absorb excess juice should they render any. As it turns out, Saskatoon berries don’t lose their shape in the baking — their skin is somewhat thicker than that of blueberries and it doesn’t seem to rupture as easily — but the powdered almonds turned to golden toasty crumbs in the oven that complemented the berries very well.

My friends were suitably tickled to discover a new fruit, and the tart was promptly devoured, in between Don McLean’s American Pie (what else?) and a very impressive solo version of Naughty by Nature’s O.P.P..

Because Delphine’s berry delivery had been generous, I still had some berries to use after that, so I made a fine clafoutis — roughly using this recipe but with a bit of levain — and froze the rest.

Any suggestions on what to do with the frozen berries?

~~~

* To Delphine’s knowledge, theirs is the only farm in France that grows Saskatoon berries. You can buy some directly from them during picking season, for about three weeks in late June. Ferme Moonriver, 1 rue de la Croix, 10140 Unienville (map it!), +33 (0)3 25 92 07 79. (Note that they also raise fowl.)

** In truth, once you start looking into the ins and outs of the term berry and how it’s used in common speech vs. from a botanical point of view, you realize you pretty much get it wrong all the time.

*** On Controlling Gluten Strength (pages 523-525), McGee writes, “There are a number of ingredients and techniques by which the baker controls the gluten strength and consistency of doughs and batters.” And he proceeds to list them, ending with, “Acidity in the dough (…), which weakens the gluten network by increasing the number of positively charged amino acids along the protein chains, and increasing the repulsive forces between chains.”

Saskatoon Berries
Photo by Delphine Bouvry.

Saskatoon Berry Tart

For the pâte sablée crust:
- 85 grams (7 tablespoons) sugar
- 85 grams (6 tablespoons) chilled butter (I use semi-salted; add a pinch of salt if you use unsalted)
- 170 grams (6 ounces, about 1 1/3 cups) flour
- 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon cold milk

For the filling:
- 500 grams (2 1/2 cups) Saskatoon berries, fresh or frozen (substitute blueberries, blackberries, or a mix thereof, with an optional handful of fresh blackcurrants)
- 25 grams (1/4 cup) almond meal (almonds ground to a fine powder)
- 25 grams (2 tablespoons) sugar (I used maple sugar)
- 1 egg
- 60 ml (1/4 cup) whipping cream or double cream (crème fraîche liquide in French)

Serves 8.

Preheat the oven to 180°C (360°F) and lightly grease a shallow 28-cm (11-inch) tart pan, preferably one with a removable bottom.

Prepare the crust. Place the 85 grams sugar and butter in the bowl of a food processor and process until fluffy. Add in the flour and mix briefly, just until the dough forms coarse crumbs. Add the vinegar and milk and process in a few short pulses just to incorporate: the mixture will not come together into a ball and will remain crumb-like, but it should clump if you pinch it with your fingers. Add a drop more milk if it’s not the case. The mixture will also smell alarmingly vinegary; rest assured this will disappear completely in the baking.

Pour the mixture into the tart pan and spread it evenly to cover the surface of the pan. Pat it down to pack it gently, creating a low rim all around. Don’t worry too much about the shape or evenness of it; it’s more important not to overwork the dough. Put in the oven to blind-bake for 15 minutes, until the crust is set and very lightly golden around the edges.

In the meantime, toss the berries (no need to thaw if frozen) with the 25 grams sugar and the powdered almonds. Remove the pan from the oven, pour in the berry mixture evenly in the crust shell, leaving a small margin all around, and return to the oven for 15 minutes (18 minutes if the berries were frozen).

Remove the pan from the oven. Whisk the egg and cream together in a small bowl and pour evenly over the berries. Return to the oven for another 15 minutes.

Transfer to a rack and let cool completely before serving.

Cooking/baking time: 45 min

  • http://easydoesitrecipes.blogspot.com/ Chris

    ohhh brilliant post, I love the tip about the vinegar in the pate sablee! and the new fruit is quite interesting, thanks for sharing! :)

  • http://lesauce.typepad.com yasmin

    looks lovely (and cute story too!) i’ve never tried saskatoon berries, though i’m canadaian but it makes me want to seek them out. and… you’re warming me to the idea of making my own pasty crust again… “no rolling” you say…

  • http://damenora.blogspot.com ‘nora

    There are other Amelanchier species native to other parts of North America. Here in Maryland, I have two wild Amelanchier arborea, known locally as shadbush, since they bloom about the same time as the shad swim into the rivers. The fruit are similar to the Saskatoon, but the birds usually beat me to them.

  • Pamela

    Growing up in Manitoba, saskatoons are a staple and my favourite berry. I used to turn my nose up at wild blueberries in favour of this fruit! Now that I live in Toronto, I miss it and my mother’s wonderful wild saskatoon pies. Oh those pies!!! If you can get your hands on wild ones they are much better than the cultivated berries. You can use them like you would blueberries: muffins, pancakes, etc. but you did the right thing by making a pie. Try putting some cinnamon and nutmeg with the berries in your next pie. You won’t regret it. Lovely post, thank you so much!

  • http://saffronandblueberry.blogspot.com Hilda

    Pourquoi pas de la glace?

  • http://danamccauley.wordpress.com Dana McCauley

    I’m with Pamela, add some sweet based spices and you’ll find these berries will taste even better. Great to see one of my country’s national food treasures traveling to new places!

  • Christine

    I think I might have just figured out what “those weird blueberries” in my Seattle yard are! Now if they’re still alive when I get back there in a year, I’ll know what to do with them :-)

  • http://everyonelovesfashion.blogspot.com fashion_addict

    ohhhh yummmy!! want that pie so bad!

  • Lisa

    Hi Clotilde,
    This sounds lovely. When you say “lightly grease” what exactly would you do? Do you use spray, or rub with shortening, or rub with butter? Or use a liquid oil?

  • Mario

    I suspect the frozen berries would be great in a smoothie!

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    Thanks for the suggestions; keep them coming!

    Lisa – The tart pan in the picture is nonstick so I don’t grease it, but for other pans, I’ll put a smidge of butter in the pan and spread it around the bottom and sides using one of the butter wrappers I save for this purpose.

    • Leanne

      Saskatoons make wonderful syrup for pancakes and crepes, just make sure to add a little lemon juice for extra flavor.

  • Nini

    Along with McGee’s On Food and Cooking, another great resouce for bakers is titled In the sweet kitchen by Canadian chef and baker Regan Daley (it’s basically a chemistry book for bakers).

    Thanks for the great recipes!

  • Marjolaine

    Ma mère récolte les fruits d’amélanchier dans son fossé pour faire de la confiture. Elle utilise la confiture avec des plats salés comme un rôti de porc ou une épaule d’agneau. C’est super délicieux. Les amélanchier sont des arbustes indigènes au Québec, il existe aussi des boissons alcoolisées (exemple des crèmes) faites à partir du fruit.

  • Julie

    Like Pamela, I grew up in Manitoba and saskatoons are a staple. I agree – pie is a great way to go. However, the muffins are also delicious – just substitute the saskatoons for blueberries.

    My mom would also make a ‘crisp’ with them – also known as a crumble. You’d make a topping of oats, flour, brown sugar and butter and put it on top of berries or other fruit mixed with sugar and a bit of flour to form a sauce – delicious!

  • http://tekitokyo.blogspot.com Peter

    My mum is Canadian and loves to use them in pies. They grow like crazy near our cottage in Manitoba and are good raw, like blueberries, too.

    In the US, they are sometimes called “service berries”. Most people don’t know that they are even edible, much less how amazingly delicious they are!

  • http://cindcwordpress.com caroline

    I just made some delicious blueberry buttermilk sherbert that I’m sure would work well with your frozen berries. And it’s a great way to use up leftover buttermilk from baking! I pureed 3 cups of blueberries with about half a cup of sugar, and then stirred 2 cups of buttermilk into the mixture. Since I don’t have an ice cream machine, I just gave the sherbert a good stir every 30 minutes or so while it froze.

    This morning I blended a cup of the sherbert with a scoop of whey protein powder for a breakfast shake. It was a bit too sweet but otherwise very good.

  • linda

    i love june berries! the tart looks beautiful. there are june berry trees all over new york city and i’ve even picked some from central park. they’re also delicious when scattered over a salad.

  • http://www.theroadforks.com Akila

    We always use frozen berries to make sorbet in the summer time and dial back the sugar a good bit, so the inherent sweetness of the berry shines through. That tart looks fantastic!

  • Carolyn

    I moved into a new apartment in Brooklyn this May and was thrilled when the tree in the garden started producing tons of juneberries! It’s fast becoming my favorite berry.

    My first attempt at baking them was actually using your yogurt cake recipe, so this post brings things full circle. Thanks, Clotilde!

  • http://birdseyechili.ca Anna

    I live in Saskatoon! And yes, these berries are wonderful. I most often use the frozen ones in smoothies or pancakes. For pancakes, I defrost them on a little plate while I’m making the batter, then once I drop the batter onto the pan, I scatter the berries on top. Then one flip, and you’re done! Enjoy!

  • http://dinnerintheyellowhouse.com Rebeca

    Mm, can’t wait to try this. I have lots of frozen saskatoons leftover from last year.

  • Diane

    Saskatoon berries make great jam. I have many happy childhood memories of eating this. It’s delicious.

  • ladyloo

    I severely miss Saskatoon berries. I grew up in Alberta and they were everywhere! I like them best either fresh or in a jam. I’m also seen them dried and put in granola mixes. But all in all a Saskatoon pie is a food staple of the Prairies.

  • http://bottomline.seattle.gov Stephanie

    I’ve been seeing this berry all over Seattle – maybe you’re right about its status as a soon-to-be “superfood”!

  • Anne

    Bonjour Clotilde,
    un peu tard si tu as déjà congelé tes baies mais j’ai lu qu’elles peuvent etre séchées comme des raisins secs. Pourquoi ne pas essayer ensuite des cookies amélanchier / amandes ?

  • http://thesplitpea.blogspot.com Eralda

    Wow, this is so neat. A new fruit! The tart looks delicious, and I love the tip about vinnegar in the crust. I am still learning how to make good crusts and I will certainly give this a try.

  • Kat

    We’re all laughing here! We call these berries chicken berries, because we planted quite a few of these bushes in our yard, and all the berries go straight to the chickens! None of us can stand them one bit, ‘though we do all love blueberries.

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    Kat – Chicken berries, that’s funny! I have read that there are different cultivars to choose from when you buy shrubs for planting, so it may be worth investigating which one suits your taste buds best. I’ll have to ask Delphine which cultivar she’s planted.

  • http://anniesue.wordpress.com AnnieSue

    YEAH! Thanks for bringing attention to this neat little fruit.
    However, I am curious about the texture of your tart. The Saskatoon berries that grow wild where I grew up are about 50% seed, making them unpleasant to eat unless they are seeded first. When we were kids, our dad would try to cajole me and my brother into picking enough Saskatoon berries for a pie – copious amounts because they needed to be seeded before going into the pie. Perhaps when cultivated they have smaller or fewer seeds?

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    AnnieSue – I had read that Saskatoon berries could be full of seeds, but the ones I got really weren’t. They did have seeds, but no more than a blackberry, in which you can sense the seeds between your teeth, but it doesn’t get in the way of the overall flavor/texture. Again, perhaps a question of cultivar?

  • Alex

    I never really warmed up to Saskatoons, even though it’s one of my father’s favourite berries and I couldn’t escape them in Saskatoon.
    I did kind of like the sweet perogies the mennonites made out of them, I think with sugar and cottage cheese in the filling

    Also, Saskatoon berry jam is pretty good, but they remind of sala’al berries from my home on the west coast of Canada – they taste better after they’re cooked and a little sugar is added.

    I vastly prefer huckleberries. The real, tart, bright pink ones.

  • Danielle

    I add frozen Saskatoon berries to scones, they are great. My boyfriend and I also make a Saskatoon berry compote to serve over pancakes with vanilla yogurt. Take the berries (fresh or frozen) and cook with honey, lemon juice and zest, chai spice or cinnamon. Add a cornstarch and water mixture to thicken.

  • http://stcooknyc.blogspot.com/ justcooknyc

    saskatoon? wow, i’ve never even heard of them before

  • http://crispybits.wordpress.com Ryan

    I also grew up in Manitoba and have memories, both good and bad, associated with saskatoon berries. They grow wild among the trees in the Interlake region and we’d pull over to the side of the road, scramble over the ditch, and pick and pick and pick until we filled up our plastic 4-litre ice cream buckets. Although the skins are thicker than blueberries, they still stained our fingers but they’re infinitely easier to pick since they grow on shrubs instead of close to the ground. We never ate them raw. Rather, my mom would begin a jarring spree, gently heating the berries with a bit of water, some sugar and spices, then seal them up in jars and pressure treat them. We employed this method with raspberries as strawberries as well and ate them, preferably chilled, as a dessert…sort of a fruit compote…throughout the winter. If we were lucky, the stewed fruit was spooned on top of ice cream. We grew sick of them by Spring, by which time we started the cycle once more and picked them by the bucketful.

  • http://www.pleasurenotes.com emma

    Oh my gosh, will you please let me eat your leftover crumbs?! This post has my mouth watering, but the only thing I can manage with any berries is rinsing and popping them directly into my mouth. *sigh* Perhaps someday I’ll have the courage to follow your delightful recipe. For now, I’ll just gaze longingly at the picture.

  • Janka

    I’ve never heard of these before… Learned something new today! I doubt I can get them in Austria, but I might get lucky and get some blueberries from a friend. Then I can try your pie, it sounds heavenly. Now if only all the rain would stop and let the sun through… No good weather for berries this year at all… sigh.
    About the dough and the tip with the vinegar – I suppose I could use some lemon juice instead? I hate vinegar, alone the smell is awfull to me. Except the real aceto balsamico tradizionale di Modena, which technically speaking isn’t a vinegar and should never be cooked ;-)

  • http://www.storiesfromemona.com Maya

    Honestly, I’ve never heard of these berries before. So I’ve learned something new once again – thank you!
    Your tart looks delicious. I’m sure these berries would make a good jam. I’d also add them to bread pudding or pie – I made one with red & black currants the other day, yummy!

  • Heidita

    We live in rural Oregon and inherited massive bushes of saskatoon berries when we bought our house. The first year I left them for the birds, who were quite happy with my gesture, but the subsequent years, I race out there as fast I can to pick the berries and make jam before the birdies get them. In this area they are also called service berries, and since I began sharing my jam with friends, I learned that there is quite a good sized group of devotees in this region.

  • Heather

    This is a fascinating post, Clotilde! All sorts of tidbits.

    Just commenting because you reminded me that I tried and loved your clafoutis recipe – months ago – and introduced my extended family to the concept as well. Thanks for all your informative descriptions; I appreciate hearing the creative process.

  • http://www.ferme-moonriver.com Delphine

    I thought I would add what we’ve observed on our farm …
    We grow 5 different cultivars from which we get fruit that is pretty different in size and taste.
    Some like Lee#8 and Smoky are small so the seeds are quite present when you eat them and others like Thiessen are huge and so you feel the seeds less.
    You can see a picture of the different sizes here.
    So cultivar plays a role but also weather, a year with little rain will yield also smaller, drier fruit.
    The almond taste of the Saskatoon is mostly found in the seeds so a smaller fruit will generally be more flavourful. We use the smaller fruit to make
    seedless jam (through a food mill), as well as Saskatoon eau de vie. The larger fruit is easier to eat fresh, or in pies as well as whole fruit jam.
    I find the skin and flower end of the saskatoon to be more difficult to eat than the seeds, but it is all a matter of personal taste. My french grandmother
    wouldn’t eat a saskatoon even if she was paid to, and my eldest son will shovel handfuls into his mouth from our picking buckets and he is a picky eater.

  • http://alaganache.com Marie

    I’d probably throw some of the frozen berries in muffins or scones. Or pancakes. Or simmer them with a little sweetener and lemon juice to make a compote. Or just toss them into a fruit crumble.

    Of course, I haven’t actually eaten this particular berry, but that’s what I tend to do with other berries!

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    Wow, so many lovely ideas, thank you!

    Janka – Yes, I’m pretty sure you could use lemon juice instead of vinegar. I guess vinegar is called for because cooks typically keep it on hand and it’s easy to just add a teaspoon, whereas it would be inconvenient to slice open an entire lemon when you only need a teaspoon. (Then again I love drinking pure lemon juice so that’s never wasted in my kitchen.)

    Heather – Delighted you’ve had good success with that clafoutis recipe. Thank you for reporting back.

    Delphine – Thank you for the additional information and the picture. Do you remember which cultivar you sent me? Thanks again — and Happy Canada Day!

  • http://www.ferme-moonriver.com Delphine

    Clotilde,

    the cultivar I sent you is called Northline. It is our favourite one to pick, the fruit is good sized (like the berry that is third from left on the photo).
    Another idea for the Saskatoons is mixed into a bread stuffing to serve with guinea hen, for example.
    Merci à toi !

  • Sarah

    And the Saskatoon berry is also in Slow Food’s Ark of Taste as a Canadian native product worth preserving as it is historically meaningful also.

    Je suis bien heureuse de savoir qu’une compatriote fait connaître ce fruit en France. Les gens de Slow Food seraient sans doute heureux de savoir que ce fruit est disponible en Europe!

  • george

    I grow tons of Juneberries. My dad went on a planting spree a few years ago and now I and my daughter reap the benefits. This year a local resort offered to pay her for them if she picked them as they featuer juneberry pie on their menu.

    I personally like them best covered w/ cream fresh off the bush. They also are wonderful in ice cream and cheesecake. Clafouti is yummy as you’ve already tried and so are muffins, breads. They also make a wonderful sauce to accompany roast venison.

  • http://18thccuisine.blogspot.com/ Carolyn

    As Peter said, they are also called service berry in the Western US. But they are pronounced “sarvice” berry. They were a favorite of the pioneers travelling West on the Oregon Trail. When we lived in Idaho we picked and ate them while deer hunting. Now that we live in Michigan we have planted some in the back yard, but the berries aren’t ripe yet.

  • http://marydotmusic.livejournal.com Mary

    Pies are the most “traditional” way to go in Canada (usually with cinnamon and pecans if you have them). Jams are good too, but I’ve had my share in cobbler, muffins, scones and even in cinnamon buns (in place of raisins)!

    One of my favourite things to do with frozen saskatoons is make a sauce with them to serve over pancakes. I was once told by a farmer that almond extract hightens the flavour and so does a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. I add one cup of water and two cups of frozen berries. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Mix 1/4 cup of sugar and 2 tablespoons of cornstarch together and then mix into the berry mixture, stirring lots. When thickened, squeeze in the lemon juice (about 1 tablespoon) and a few drops of almond extract (about 1/4 tsp). Mix in and remove from heat immediately.

    PS I was in Paris last month and took your book along with me. It was well used. Thank you for all those great tips! From falafels to Vietnamese sandwiches! The best!

  • http://blancheflower.blogspot.com James

    I grew up with Saskatoons at my grandparents’ cabin up near Athabasca in the north of Alberta, and our love for them was so strong that we still have two giant bushes in our back yard. It was quite a shock to find out that they’re not universally known, since they’re so ubiquitous here in Edmonton that local grocery store chains sell pre-made saskatoon pies. Thanks for giving one of my favourite fruits a bit of love and attention.

  • Heather

    Dear Clotilde,
    I live in Toronto ON now and miss Saskatoon Berries so much. I grew up in Saskatchewan and would go with my family to pick them. These little charms are my favourite and make me a bit homesick. My family even brings them when they come visit.

    On Monday, I found ornamental trees planted along a newer area. At closer look, I realized they were my beloved berries. I returned to the office and told my other prairie refugee friend. The next morning you posted this recipe. So, at lunch he and I took containers and picked enough for two pies. All the while strangers would stop and ask us what they were. We would politely explain to eat the deep purple ones. We must have looked so strange in an urban area picking “poisonous” berries, but we were in our glory.

    I made the pie for Canada Day and it was a grand hit.

    Thanks so much,

    Heather

  • http://www.tourisme-montreal.org/Blogs/Epicurean-Life katerine rollet

    Clotilde, next time you come to Montreal, you should try the blueberry ice cream from Point G on Mont-Royal St. It‘s actually like taking a bite of a huge frozen blueberry, it’s so refreshing!

  • http://www.gfpatisserie.com GF Patisserie

    Greetings to Delphine from her home town, Calgary!

  • http://jellybeansart.blogspot.com Angie

    Saskatoon berries are so good! My families farm, growing up (near Sudbury, Ontario) had them in plenty every year! We never really knew what to do with them, except eat them plain. If only I knew about this wondrous tart!

  • RG

    I didn’t read all of the comments above, but I’ve been enhaling juneberries (also called huckleberries) for about 15 years, and still alive I like to tell passers-by. In many cities, the small trees are used as foliage around predominantly bank buildings, or in water-side parks. I don’t know if they grow fast or just the limited height, but very popular. I usually manage to eat a pint a day and pick an extra pint when I go, either enough to give or freeze. The frozen ones are fabulous in the summer as straight eating, but also effective in smoothies, where the seeds add a pleasant crunch. I love the process, april is strawberries, june is these, july has wineberries, late july has blackberries. If I eat the fresh in season and pick extra for the freezer, I can usually accumulate a gallon of each, which is enough for smoothies and out-of-hand eating for the rest of the year. Juneberries defrost the best of these, holding their shape – plain, at a potluck in November, prized addition.

  • http://megzimbeck.com Meg

    The tart was brilliant! As was your indomitable performance of American Pie. I’m still trying to understand how a hillbilly from Kansas could be defeated on that song by a (freakishly talented) Parisienne…

    Thanks for a great night!

  • http://pickleandbrine.blogspot.com Kate Clause

    Thank you, Clotilde, for sharing your crust recipe for fruit tarts. I live in Kansas in the US, and I’m almost certain that Saskatoon berries are not available here. However, there is a nice mulberry tree in my back yard that’s about to bear fruit!

    Thank goodness for the local fruits of summer!

    Kate

  • http://bulleetblog.canablog.com Anne-Liesse

    If you still have any of those berries on hand, you could bake muffins. Here is my recipe.

  • http://www.cakespy.com CakeSpy

    I had never heard of saskatoon berries before reading this post! I feel as if I want to get to know them now. Of course even if I’m not able to find them here in seattle, I think that marionberries would work beautifully with this recipe too!

  • http://withthecrickets.blogspot.com Andreae

    Where I live (St. John’s, Newfoundland), they are called chuckley pears, and they grow in abundance along the many walking trails throughout the city. I had never eaten them until last year when a friend of mine, who grew up in rural north Ontario, told me how prized they are in the rest of Canada. One of my goals for this season is to fill my freezer with them, and maybe preserve some in syrup. They are quite delicious, although I too found that a few of the bushes yielded particularly seedy, tasteless fruit. Interestingly, I found last year that older people walking the trails would always stop to confess their love for the out-of-fashion fruit, and to share recipes. I’m looking forward to picking up some more traditional knowledge from passers-by when I go picking this year!

  • http://www.themarketreport.net Michelle

    Wonderful as always, Clotilde! I can’t wait to get started… Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Mell

    mmm I miss Saskatoons! I haven’t had them since I moved away from home.

    We used to put them in pies and perogies and jam and my grandma would make a syrup out of them. She also made a syrup out of chokecherries which is amazing.

  • Fern

    I’m late to this conversation, but I wanted to add that back when I had access to Saskatoons, I would freeze them and then add a little handful to my cooked cereal just a couple of minutes before it was done. I does turn the cereal a bit purple, but is very tasty.

    And as others have mentioned, they are very good in muffins and pancakes.

    I must say that I miss them, as well as the chokecherries and highbush cranberries that we used to pick north of my home in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

  • Rachel

    I grew up in North Dakota, and to my family juneberries were the height of delicacy. Imagine my delight when I moved to Chicago and found that they are planted in all sorts of public places! And I also saw a bush in Zurich when I visited there last year. I understand they’re sort of difficult to cultivate, but they can be found in all sorts of places. Frozen berries are wonderful in muffins, scones, pancakes, pies, cheesecakes, anything you like like berries in. They make great jam, too.

    @RG: Juneberries and huckleberries are not actually the same thing; huckleberries belong to the Ericaceaea family.

    • Peschel

      Hi Rachel,

      I moved to the Chicago area about 2 months ago with a bunch of Saskatoons in tow in hopes of getting them into the hands of local chefs. So far it’s going well but I have enough to share if you would like some.

      Hope you’re having a great day!

  • http://www.littleredsaid.blogspot.com Debbie

    I have just been picking Saskatoons for the past 2 days, so I will have enough to freeze for pies and to make pancake syrup. My son and both prefer fruit syrup rather than Maple syrup on pancakes and waffles. So we make choke cherry, saskatoon syrup and huckleberry syrup now too. I make them all as if to make jelly with enough pectin to thicken it slightly and can them in jars for the coming year. I grew up in Northern Ontario where wild blueberries and Saskatoons are both plentiful. I always viewed saskatoons as a second rate blueberry and never appreciated when my grandmothers blueberry perogies turned out to saskatoon filled because she ran out of blueberries. My husband however has an obsessive craving for saskatoon pie and now, as an adult, I would now have to agree with him that the flavour of a good saskatoon beats that of a good blueberry any day. Having discovered Huckleberries for the first time last season, I’d have to say that their more intense flavour has won me over, and I prefer them over blue berries when eatten fresh. June berries or Saskatoons or Service Berries which ever you like to call them are definitely not the same as Saskatoons. Your tart looks lovely! Thanks for sharing:)

  • http://www.suburbanlush.typepad.com Nikki

    I love Saskatoon berries (having grown up in Canada) and can fully recommend making them into a sauce to pour over pancakes, along with a generous drizzle of maple syrup and whipped cream. Mmmmm

  • Emily Blushke

    My husband and I own Blue Sky Farm in Saskatoon Saskatchewan and we can supply fresh (in season) and frozen (all year)saskatoon berries.
    My husband is an expert on the Saskatoon Berry and propagates the trees which we sell across North America.

    Anyone want small order up to 10,000lbs. frozen Saskatoon fruit and/or 50 to 30,000 small trees for commercial production. A very good business to enter as there is strong international interest in the “new” fruit.

    We are preparing a program for a Saskatoon Fruit Workshop which will show how to plant and care for the trees and what to cook with the fruit.

    Emily

  • AJ

    I cannot imagine all the excitment about saskatoon berries, Wow. I guess we in Manitoba, take these berries for granted, tis the season for saskatoon pies and jam at our house, as it is every July. They also make good fruit, I remember my Mom doing quarts of them, I stick to making jam and pies.

  • http://lifebeginsatsixty-five.blogspot.com sixty-five

    This is an increasingly popular landscape plant in the US. Lovely white flowers in the spring, attractive foliage in the fall, and smallish leaves that don’t create a big raking problem. I have three of them, but can never seem to get to the berries before the birds do.

  • Roy

    Nikki, I would be very interested in purchasing some plants to put in the ground this spring. Would also like information on their cultivation.

  • http://None Lans

    Like, MAKE JAM!!

    They sound excellent sweetened and over buttered toast!! I do that to my leftover cranberry sauce from Thanksgiving.

  • gerdaleigh

    Though I live in the US, I live next to the Canadian border and these actually ripen around August here. We pick them like crazy and tend to use them in just about anything you would put blueberries in. They are fantastic in pies and cobblers because, as stated, the skin doesn’t break down like a blueberry does.

  • DANIELLE

    Being from a family of Saskatooners may i suggest one of my all time favorite things– saskatoonberry jam!

  • Strangeattractor

    My favourite is Saskatoon berry raspberry pie. That is, if I have any left over after eating a lot of them right off the bush.

  • Anna

    On the hunt for cherries (which I sadly didn’t find outside private gardens..) I stumbled across these next to a small path today and remembered from botany class that they’re edible and quite good too :) they must have been at their peak of ripeness last week or so here in Austria (the fruit is called Felsenbirne here), so I couldn’t pick that many since lots of them were overripe (I got enough to fill two 8cm tart shells though).. it was funny how passer-bys stopped and wondered what strange fruit I was picking and asking whether it wasn’t poisonous.. I let them try the ones I had picked then and they were all pretty surprised about the nice flavour :)

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Fun story, thanks for sharing! :)

  • littlestar

    I’m baking this tart right now as I type this! Found this recipe last week & decided to try it – my boyfriend adores saskatoons & since he is turning 30, I decided to make him a special treat. I’m from Alberta, now living in Saskatchewan & saskatoons are abundant in both provinces. Two summers ago I picked copious amounts of the wild ones with my mother. Anyhow, the tart smells & looks wonderful! We’ll be eating it tomorrow night with some family – can’t wait :).

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      I hope the tart came out to your liking!

  • Christina

    I live in Calgary and the saskatoon berries are ripe RIGHT NOW! I was out on Monday collecting them and Now I have a tasty stash waiting to be devoured in some delicious baked form. :)

  • Bren Kolson

    I am from Yellowknife, Northwest Territories where I picked three big ZipLoc bags of Saskatoons from a friend’s huge Saskatoon tree. Indeed the “Pointers” in the e-mails have been great and helpful. I, too, was wondering ‘how’ to cook them and in ‘what’. Thank you go all your ideas. I may begin with a multi-inclusive bery pie or, as some friends do – make a Liquer – which my friend does when she has picked many cranberries.

    So everyone on the site has said Saskatoon berries freeze well but may have a bit of a mushy texture – but other persons have said because of the thick skin (which I agree)the berry will still “hold up” when doing whatever you want to do to cook them.

    The last time I had Saskatoon berries I mixted them with Gooseberries and that was a new taste I never tasted before and it turne dout more like a jam, but was very good. I do put cranberry sauce (from the land cranberries)on vanilla ice cream, and it is delicious.

    Bren from Yellowknife

  • Kathy

    I use saskatoons in muffins and scones and especially in pie! They are great!

  • Cheryl S.

    Thank you for the recipe – I made it the other day and it was amazing. Will definitely make it again.

  • http://makeminelemon.com Madonna/aka/Ms. Lemon

    After over 80 comments you probably don’t need my 2 cents, but I thought I would share. Monique/aka/Nana calls them service berries and she makes jam.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Thank you for sharing!

Get the newsletter

Receive a free monthly email with a digest of recent entries, plus exclusive inspiration and special announcements. You can also choose to be notified of every new post.