Saska-what? Saskatoon! The saskatoon is a fruit bearing shrub that is commonly found in the North American Prairies. Until fairly recently, these berries, or pomes, could be picked only in the wild. The saskatoon resembles the blueberry but has a distinctive nutty flavor and carries all the same health benefits! Some have called the saskatoon, "the next blueberry"
Saskatoons get their name from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan (Canada) where they have been in cultivation for some time. But don't let the name fool you; their botanical name is amelanchier alnifolia and there are native varieties in Michigan as well. Here we call them Juneberry or Serviceberry (yes, the same ornamental plant used in landscapes).
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Saskatoons in Bloom
Stoney Beach Farm
Old Mission Peninsula
Traverse City, Michigan
Amelanchier alnifolia, the saskatoon, Pacific serviceberry, Western serviceberry, alder-leaf shadbush, dwarf shadbush, or western juneberry, is a shrub with edible berry-like fruit, native to North America from Alaska across most of western Canada and in the western and north central United States. Historically it was also called "pigeon berry". It grows from sea level in the north of the range, up to 2,600 m (8,530 ft) elevation in California and 3,400 m (11,200 ft) in the Rocky Mountains.
Blossoms at Stoney Beach Farm
From 3 to 20 flowers are borne on generally crowded, short racemes.
The name derives from the Cree inanimate noun misâskwatômina (misâskwatômin NI sg saskatoonberry, misâskwatômina NI pl saskatoonberries). The city of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan is named after the berry.
- Amelanchier alnifolia var. alnifolia. Northeastern part of the species' range.
- Amelanchier alnifolia var. pumila (Nutt.) A.Nelson. Rocky Mountains, Sierra Nevada.
- Amelanchier alnifolia var. semiintegrifolia (Hook.) C.L.Hitchc. Pacific coastal regions, Alaska to northwestern California.
Cultivation and uses
Seedlings are planted with 13–20 ft (4–6 m) between rows and 1.5–3 ft (0.5–1 m) between plants. An individual bush may bear fruit 30 or more years.
Saskatoons are adaptable to most soil types with exception of poorly drained or heavy clay soils lacking organic matter. Shallow soils should be avoided, especially if there is a high or erratic water table. Winter hardiness is exceptional but frost can damage blooms as late as May. Large amounts of sunshine are needed for fruit ripening.
With a sweet nutty taste, the fruits have long been eaten by Canada's Aboriginal people, fresh or dried. They are well known as an ingredient in pemmican, a preparation of dried meat to which saskatoon berries are added as flavour and preservative. They are also often used in pies, jam, wines, cider, beers and sugar-infused berries similar to dried cranberries used for cereals, trail mix and snack foods.
Diseases and pests
Nutrients and potential health benefits
Stoney Beach Farm
The 5–15 mm diameter pomes ripen in early summer.
Stoney Beach Farm
Nutrients in raw saskatoon berries
Value per 100 grams
Total dietary fiber
Vitamin A, IU
Saskatoon berries contain significant Daily Value amounts of total dietary fibre, vitamins B2 (riboflavin) and biotin, and the essential minerals, iron and manganese, a nutrient profile similar to the content of blueberries.
Notable for polyphenol antioxidants also similar in composition to blueberries, saskatoons have total phenolics of 452 mg per 100 g (average of Smoky and Northline cultivars), flavonols (61 mg) and anthocyanins (178 mg), although others have found the phenolic values to be either lower in the Smoky cultivar or higher. Quercetin, cyanidin, delphinidin, pelargonidin, petunidin, peonidin, and malvidin were polyphenols present in saskatoon berries.