My Canadian adventures have introduced me to unusual foods, and my latest trip provided more fodder to the ever increasing list. Food is a wonderful way to experience new destinations.
My customs officer asked why an American tourist would come to Winnipeg. If I had known what Saskatoon berries were all about, I would have included them in my answer.
Saskatoon berries remind you of blueberries but with a reddish hue. The Saskatoon Berry Institute tells us that the berry is "more closely related to the apple family."
The institute describes the taste of the actual berry as a "sweet, nutty almond flavor." They are being kind. The berries don't have much of a taste. If blueberries are too tart, and wild blueberries are too flavorful, Saskatoon berries are the taste of nothing.
So why are we heralding the Saskatoon berry?
Like similar looking berries, the Saskatoon berry is rich in the usual of fiber and antioxidants. The institute lists more amazing nutrition traits of the Saskatoon berry, but we'll leave the homework to you if you want to learn more.
The magic behind the Saskatoon berry is not by themselves but mixed in with other ingredients.
This Saskatoon berry pie was from the Regina Farmers Market on a Saturday morning. The structure was purely outdoors at the north end of Victoria Park.
The ingredients are simple. The phone number is whited out to protect the individual farmer. Here is what is needed to make those berries into something beautiful.
Saskatoons, flour, sugar, lard, lemon juice, and cornstarch.
Yes, wonderful beautiful lard. The sugar and lemon juice bring out the best in the Saskatoon berry. I enjoyed this pie along Lake Wasacan, which is actually in the city of Regina.
The pie was the ideal mix of berries and sweetness but definitely not too sweet.
Not every farmers market has homemade goodies such as this Saskatoon berry pie but I found a lot of homemade goodies in the Winnipeg farmers market on Thursday as well as Regina farmers market on Saturday.
The light purple draws your attention inside the glass case in the cafe. This accidental stop produced a gold mine of baked goods.
My sweet tooth isn't that strong, but I'm a sucker for shortbreads. Their simple butter flavor, provided you've used really good butter, is lovely goodness. Mix in the impact of Saskatoon berries and you have Saskatoon berry shortbread.
This was so good that after the 2 cookies I got as a snack, I got 2 more cookies for breakfast the next day.
My first experience with Saskatoons were snacking on them. That became boring quickly. But I was highly glad to have them in desserts. They would be great in smoothies since they add fruit goodness without a distracting taste.
The summertime is the height of the Saskatoon berry season. I want to find out if someone will ship Saskatoon berry pies outside the Canadian Prairies.
I also saw jams made from seabuckthorn and chokecherry fruits. I saw High Bush Cranberry jam. I'm pretty sure I saw more fruit products than actual fruit. I saw a stall from British Columbia at a Saskatchewan farmers market. For those who don't know Canada, Alberta is in between the two provinces, and Regina is in the middle of southern Saskatchewan. That is a long drive to bring this relatively local fruit.
photos credit: me