Saskatoon Berries are beautiful firm dark purple berries about the size of a small blueberry. The flavor is lovely. The texture can be firm and a little seedy. sometimes.
Ready in early summer near dry sunny slopes in British Columbia and Alberta, across the prairies to Ontario. Often called Juneberries in the northern United States. The bushes can be 3 ft to 16 ft tall. Interestingly they are more related to apple than blueberries.
I start looking for the bushes in the spring. You can identify them from the little white flowers. I make a note to remember where the bushes are. Picking them is fun and easy. Grab a mixing bowl with a handle, Ice cream bucket with a handle, or even a plastic grocery bag and find a bush and start picking.
Pick shiny ripe dark berries. Often you find them bunched like little grapes. Leave the dark pink ones to ripen. Pick as many as you can store. They freeze and can well, so if you have room keep picking!
Don’t pick the berries you see with yellow spots or striping. That is Entomosporium leaf and berry spot fungus.
Once home, pour out a couple of cups at a time on a cookie sheet with a rim. Sort and pick through discarding any stems, leaves, or imperfect berries that birds may have partially eaten. I then make my baked goods, jam, or other treats or freeze them for a later time.
Pies, Oat Bars, Muffins, Jam, Ice cream, and savory relishes can be made from these wonderful little berries. High in antioxidants they are a great addition to your morning smoothie. I like to add a crisp Granny Smith apple to my Saskatoon pies to make the flavor and texture pop. I used the same pie filling for the Oat Bars. So yummy. My sister Brenda said it was the best pie she ever ate!
For More information http://saskatoonberryinstitute.org/saskatoons/
Fruit Filled Oat Bars
FRUIT-FILLED OATMEAL BARS
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
2⁄ 3 cup brown sugar, packed
1⁄4 teaspoon baking soda
1⁄2 cup butter or other fat coconut oil works nicely
2 cups of pie filling or jam
In mixing bowl, combine flour, oats, brown sugar, and baking soda.
Cut in margarine/butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
Reserve 1/2 cup of the flour mixture.
Press remaining flour mixture into the bottom of an ungreased 9x9x2 baking pan.
Spread with desired filling. See Saskatoon Pie filling below.
Sprinkle with reserved flour oat mixture. Press down with hand or spatula.
Bake at 350F for 30-35 minutes or until the top is golden.
Cool in pan on wire rack.
Cut into bars. Control yourself… they are so good.
These travel and freeze well.
Bonnie’s Famous Saskatoon Berry Pie
6 Cups Saskatoon Berries
1 med unpeeled apple chopped up fine~ I like a tart Granny Smith for this recipe
3/4 to 1 Cup Sugar
½ Cup Water
4 TBSP cornstarch
1 TBSP Fresh Lemon Juice
Favorite Pie crust for 9-10 inch pie~ I like to make Amish Pie Crust
I egg white, beaten
Prepare your pastry. Line pie pan 9 or 10 inch with prepared crust.
In Large, non- reactive pot over medium –high heat, bring berries, apple, sugar and water to a boil.
Whisk cornstarch into 3 TBSP cold water. Whisk into berries. Let cook for 1-2 min or until it begins to thicken. Add lemon juice; this brings foam to the top. Skim off foam.
Place filling in bottom crust, top with top pie crust, crimp, and brush edges with egg white. Cut vents for steam to escape.
Cover a rimmed cookie sheet with foil. Place pie on the cookie sheet and pop in the oven. Bake on the middle rack of preheated 350 deg. oven for 40-45 minutes or until pastry is golden and filling is bubbly.
Double filling recipe to make 2 pies or a pie and Oat bars with some leftover over for ice cream, Pancakes, or Waffles.