Happy day everyone! Today is all about Saskatoon berries!
Have you heard of these delicious little berries? Saskatoon berries are native to the prairie province that I live in, Alberta. They look a little like a blueberry, but are drier and have a very different flavour (almost almond-y). Only recently did I realize that not everyone knows about these little gems. For me, they’re just such a part of our food experience that I take them for granted, because we’ve been enjoying them for as long as I can remember. I have memories of going for walks as a kid with my family, and picking and munching on these berries as we went along on our walk! They just grow in the wild aplenty around here this time of year!
Saskatoon berries are delicious and so versatile! I want to show you a few ways to eat this delicious berry, but don’t fret if you can’t get your hands on any, because you could basically substitute blueberries for any of these recipes!
Here are some ways that Saskatoon Berries can be enjoyed!
- Eaten fresh on their own
- Served over ice cream
- In Muffins
- Whipped butters
- Basically any way that you would eat a blueberry.
Last week on a warm and stormy day (you may have seen us on Instagram), the kids and I set off to our local Saskatoon Farm to pick some Saskatoon berries the good old fashioned way! With a bucket and our hands. I thought the kids would get bored about 5 minutes into the berry picking, but they didn’t! They were so excited and got right in there loading up their pockets and hands with berries! It was SO fun! And such a good experience for them. We left with purple lips & hands… 😉
We try to expose our kids to farms & u-picks as often as we can, because we think it’s so important that they understand where their food comes from…farms and not just the grocery store. I think they have a better appreciation for their veggies & fruit when they know that someone grew it for them. Not to mention that farm fresh produce tastes ah-mazing!
So we loaded up a 4 L pail with fresh Saskatoon berries! Yum. Now it’s time to use them up…4 L of berries is a lot of berries, and I didn’t want to waste even one. So one afternoon I got busy cleaning them, preparing them for freezing, making pie filling and baking tarts. I love days like that!
First I set aside 4 cups of berries for pie filling, then I washed and got the rest ready for freezing.
Here’s how to prepare Saskatoon berries for freezing (2 methods):
- Dry Pack (Picture on the Left): Freezing Saskatoons in a dry pack gives you berries that don’t freeze into a clump. Freezing them with this method makes them easy to access and use when adding to add to muffin or pancake recipes. How To: Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, then spread out the berries in one layer. Place the cookie sheet into your freezer overnight. Once the berries are frozen solid, transfer them to a ziplock bag, and place them in the freezer until you are ready to use them.
- Sugar Pack (Picture on the Right): This method just consists of mixing berries and sugar, then freezing them. The added sugar in the mixture draws out the juices from the Saskatoons, creating more moist berries. The berries will actually keep better with this method, as they retain more moisture than a dry pack. You can use the berries from this method in any recipe that you like (especially pie filling). You just have to keep in mind how much sugar you’ve already added. Also, note that the berries freeze more into a clump with this method because of the sugar. How To: Mix 4 cups Saskatoon berries with 1/2 cup granulated sugar, then place the berries into a ziplock bag and freeze.
Here’s how to make Saskatoon berry pie filling:
My most favourite way to enjoy Saskatoon berries is in pie! This pie filling recipe is my mom’s recipe, and we’ve been enjoying it for years! For the purpose of this post, I’m going to be using the filling to make Saskatoon Berry Butter Tarts. But if you just want to make a pie, my mom’s recipe/tutorial is so great!
Saskatoon Berry Pie Filling:
- 4 cups Saskatoon berries
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3 tbsp corn starch
Butter Tart Filling:
- 2 eggs
- 1/3 cup butter
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 4 tbsp cream
- 1 cup raisins (seedless)
- 2 cups flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2/3 cup shortening (lard)
- 1/4 cup water
Making the Saskatoon Berry Filling:
- In a saucepan, mix together the berries and water and simmer for 10 minutes over low-medium heat.
- In a separate bowl, mix together the sugar and flour.
- Then add the sugar/flour mix to the berries and combine.
- Simmer until the mixture slightly thickens.
- Set aside to cool.
Making the Butter Tart Filling:
- First beat together the eggs.
- In a saucepan, melt the butter.
- Then add the sugar, vanilla, cream, raisins and beaten eggs to the saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat, and boil for 3 minutes.
- Set aside.
Making the Pie Crust:
- Sift flour and salt into a bowl.
- With a pie cutter, cut in shortening until the particles are pea sized.
- Sprinkle in water, 1 tsp or so at a time, mixing lightly with a fork. Don’t over mix or the crust will be tough.
- Press into a ball. It is okay if it is crumbly. In fact crumbly makes for a tender, flaky crust!
Putting the Tarts together:
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
- Split the pie dough into 2 balls, then using a rolling pin, roll out each ball, doing one at a time (it’s just easier to handle the dough this way).
- Using a 3 inch circle (like a drinking glass, or cookie cutter), cut out your tart shells.
- Place the tart shells into a muffin tin.
- Add a heaping tablespoon of the butter tart mixture into the shell, then add a tablespoon of the Saskatoon pie filling on top of the butter tart filling. Do NOT mix.
- Bake for 18 – 20 minutes, or until the crust is slightly browned.
I also freeze this pie filling. It freezes very well. You will only use a small portion of the Saskatoon pie filling in this Butter Tart recipe, so use the rest to make more Saskatoon tarts or a pie!
The Butter Tart Recipe portion is from the Best of Bridge
There are so many delicious ways to enjoy Saskatoon berries! Now that I’ve got a stash of them in the freezer I’m going to use them in a few other recipes this winter! There’s just nothing like having fresh fruit & veggies at your fingertips all year round! I hope you enjoyed this post and got to know Saskatoon berries a little better! Now I’m off to enjoy another tart…because I can. 😉
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If you’re looking for more Saskatoon Berry recipes, this Saskatoon Galette is one of our favourites!