Five Things To Do With Serviceberries (including pie!)
Not Far From the Tree calls them serviceberries, I call them Saskatoon berries. Some people call them juneberries or shadberries or sugar pears. Whatever you call them, they’re delicious, and hiding in plain sight all around Toronto! Often planted as ornamental trees, folks don’t often know that the berries aren’t just edible, they’re part of a native plant that’s been important to prairie First Nations for food and medicine for hundreds of years. You can learn more from the Saskatoon Berry Council of Canada.
Since these beauties aren’t as familiar to Torontonians as some other fruits, I’m not going to exclude the classics from the list this time. And I’m still calling them Saskatoons.
1) Make Pie (And Pie-Like Things)
The classic, which I delighted my prairie-born grandmother with after my first Saskatoon berry pick, is pie. The Kitchen Magpie has been a great source for Saskatoon berry recipes and has both a traditional pie recipe and one with rhubarb, in case you still have some of that left.
Saskatoons also shine in this galette with raspberry granola and this french tart. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with a regular galette either. For all things cute and individually served, there are these itty bitty Saskatoon berry tarts, and to make things really Canadian, you can make Saskatoon berry butter tarts.
2) Make Jam (And Jam-Like Things)
The other traditional way to use Saskatoon berries is to make jam. Kitchen Frau has a number of other ways to preserve Saskatoons. They also make great chutney for savoury dishes, and sauce to put on ice cream or yogurt.
3) Bake More Things
Muffins with white chocolate. Cookies. Scones. Sticky buns. Poppyseed cake. More scones. Saskatoons lend themselves to any number of baked goods, from the humble shortbread cookie, cobbler, and coffee cake, to decadent cheesecake and delicate napoleons.
4) Cool Down
After all that cooking, you’ll need something refreshing. This ice cream is dairy-free and made with Saskatoon berry jelly. If it’s too hot to bake, have your pie in milkshake form. Like a lot of fruits, it also makes a great syrup to use in homemade sodas, cocktails, and more. And of course, you can make wine with them.
Saskatoon berries also work well with a lot of savoury dishes. When I took Via Rail’s “The Canadian” train across the country, they served shrimp and scallops with a Saskatoon berry sauce for lunch one day. It was so light and delicious that I had it again when I took the train back the other way! It would also be good with chicken, bison, or pork, such as pork chops with Saskatoon and green apple chutney, or chicken pasta salad with Saskatoon berries. It would also be delicious in barbecue sauce!
I’m not entirely sure whether this pierogi recipe is meant to be dessert or dinner – it’s berries! But it’s smothered in bechamel sauce! But it’s sweet delicious Saskatoons! Whatever. Just eat them.
Finally, for the ultimate trail snack loaded with energy, check out pemmican. It’s a mixture of dried meat, dried fruit, and rendered animal fat that can keep in proper storage for years. Traditionally made by First Nations and Métis people, it’s been a key provision for long journeys and tough winters. You can find many variations on the traditional three-ingredient recipe – try one for your next hiking trip!
August Fruit Ripening Tips
Making Cherry Jam at Scadding Court Community Centre