Saskatoons are the Best Berries!

What is YOUR favorite berry? Mine for sure is the Saskatoon.

I go out picking Saskatoons as soon as they are ripe. I freeze lots of them to last the whole winter. If you cannot pick them; you will often find them in farmer’s markets in Canada.

I even planted two bushes in my front yard. They are full of showy flowers in the spring, colorful berries in the summer and then beautiful leaves in the fall.

As a child, my father would load all five of us kids into his blue Chevy pickup truck with buckets for all. We would drive out hunting near the woods, creeks and river valleys. We loved going picking saskatoons because we loved the taste of saskatoons thus we would always come back with full tummies and of course full buckets too. Back then my mother would preserve dozens of jars of them for us to eat in the winter. I fondly remember those delicious jars of saskatoons I helped my mother make for us – so delicious.

Now I freeze them which is easier and more nutritious.

Freshly picked Saskatoons
Freshly picked Saskatoons
Our Saskatoon is a hardy plant for the northern climate as it survives low temperatures and drought making it an abundant Canadian fruit. It can live in poor soil and has the capacity to be productive for many years.

A couple of years ago I planted two bushes in my front yard and there are other wonderful things about them. They are full of showy flowers in the spring, Saskatoon berries in the summer and then beautiful leaves in the fall.

For the North American Indian people, Saskatoons were a staple food. Often tribes held ceremonies and feasts to celebrate the beginning of the Saskatoon harvest. The Cree name for this plant is “mis-ask-quah-toomina” which early settlers shortened to “saskatoon.”

In parts of the NW US & Europe; Saskatoons are called June Berries, Service Berries or Shadbush. 

Settlers to our country saw the potential of these berries and added them to their diet. Also, note that they were an important food source during the depression in the 1930’s. So let’s add these wild and free berries to our diet.

  1. Packed with antioxidants – those mighty fixers for the body which repair the damage, prevent heart disease and slow down aging.
  2. They have over six times the amount of calcium as blueberries (see Saskatoon study).
  3. Have twice the manganese of blueberries.
  4. Has more protein, fat, fiber, and iron than blueberries.
  5. While the berry has been used for liver troubles and diarrhea, its inner bark or roots were a remedy for constipation.
  6. A 100 gm serving has 22 percent of your daily requirement for iron.
  7. Like all fruit, it has natural sugars or smart carbs, so you don’t deal with the dangers of white sugar.
  8. Because of all this power-packed nutrition, we put them in the category of superfoods, like seaweed, spinach and cabbage.

Saskatoons will supply you with important nutrients as well as being so yummy!

Nutrients in Saskatoon berries:

A 100 gram serving of Saskatoon will supply:
22.3% of recommended daily iron
244 mg of potassium or 10% of daily needs
88 mg or 11% of daily calcium requirements
20% of carotene
16 mg of Vitamin C
2.5% of zinc and 33.8% of manganese
32 mg of phosphorus or 1.1%

Interesting Facts:

  • It has one to four teeny tiny seeds inside which you usually don’t notice.
  • Was a staple food for the North American Indian people. Tribes held ceremonies and feasts to celebrate the beginning of the Saskatoon harvest.
  • The Cree name for this plant is ‘mis-ask-quah-toomina’ which early settlers shortened to ‘saskatoon.’
  • The city named after this berry has the most hours of sunshine and the fastest economic growth of any city in Canada. The legendary Joni Mitchell grew up there.

What do Saskatoons taste like?

This, of course, is a difficult question to answer. Although similar to blueberries, they have a fuller flavour and have slightly crunchy tiny almond-flavoured seeds inside.

Picking Saskatoons:

Pick the berries that are most purple as these are the ones that are ripe and sweet. The branches bend down allowing one to reach higher berries.

Diana with Saskatoons in her garden

Watch my video about Saskatoons: The Joy of Saskatoon Berries!

Here is one simple recipe:  Saskatoon Crumble

Diana Herrington

Diana has been writing about natural health and wellness for over 20 years. Having used foods to heal her own body, she now shares her wisdom with others.

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    • Annie, not really as saskatoons are not at all tart. They are like a blueberry but with a stronger taste and more fibre. You will have to come to where we live as there are lots of saskatoons here. 🙂

  • also known as shadbush, shadwood or shadblow, serviceberry or sarvisberry, wild pear, juneberry, saskatoon, sugarplum or wild-plum, and chuckley pear is a genus of about 20 species of deciduous-leaved shrubs and small trees in the Rose family (Rosaceae).Here in Ontario we call them Sugar Plums