Did you know that the city of Saskatoon (Saskatchewan, Canada) was named for a berry? ‘Tis true! But the amelanchier alnifolia has a huge range from Alaska to California from north to south, and as far inland as Manitoba, and I assume the American plains to the south. I remember saskatoon pies and jellies and muffins growing up in Manitoba, but since moving to BC, I have to say that saskatoons aren’t the top of my food pyramid any more. Here we tend to revere the more plentiful and more flavorful huckleberries as I mentioned a few weeks ago.
Shortly after Jim had backed our trailer into a creekside camping spot last weekend, he noticed a saskatoon bush directly behind the trailer. When we looked around a bit more, there were bushes galore. So we enjoyed saskatoons in our morning pancakes. I also picked a handful whenever the notion of a fresh fruit snack struck me!
Indigenous people used saskatoons in pemmican, which is something I’ve never tried. Pemmican is basically the original protein or energy bar, consisting of lean meat (bison, moose, elk, deer) and fruit (saskatoons, cranberries) held together with bone marrow fat. This preserved all the ingredients and much of the nutritional content for the off-season. How sweet is that?