Unless you grew up on the Canadian Prairies, the phrase “Saskatoon Berries” probably means nothing to you. My mind, however, instantly conjures images of long summer days out in the forest picking—and inconspicuously eating—Saskatoon berries with my mom and younger siblings.

What's With the Name?

The name Saskatoon is derived from the Cree word misâskwatômina (Mis-sack-qua-too-mina), which means “the fruit of the tree with many branches.” They may look like the blueberry’s baby cousin, but in actuality, Saskatoon’s are more closely related to apples and roses #themoreyouknow.

Ripe berries are a deep blue-purplish colour and are slightly smaller than blueberries. They can be eaten raw or cooked. Some people say they have a slight almond-like flavour. Personally, I find them sweet, "wild," and earthy tasting. 

Historically, they were used by our Indigenous peoples to treat liver ailments and as a laxative. The berries were also a welcome addition to pemmican—a paste made from animal fat and protein after being dried. The Saskatoon's became such an integral part of society that the berries were used as a currency and trade item.

Nutritional Stats

For being such a small berry, they sure pack a nutritional punch! Each 100g serving contains a dose of manganese, magnesium, iron, calcium, potassium, fibre, protein, and antioxidants. They may also have the potential to prevent cancer, heart disease, and eye tissue degeneration due to the presence of special pigments called flavonoids.

Recipe Inspiration

Saskatchewanians (yes, this is a word) have found ways to incorporate these berries into nearly all of their favourite dishes. The most notable are Saskatoon Berry Pie—top your pie with Saskatoon Berry ice cream for a double dose—jam, and herbal tea.

Basically, anywhere you can use blueberries, you can use Saskatoon's. Add them on top of ice cream (heck, you could even blend them into the ice cream), make some berry crisp, throw them in overnight oats, on oatmeal, or in muffins, smoothies, breakfast cookies, and pancakes.

Need some more inspiration? Give some of these fool-proof recipes to try and incorporate more of these underrated berries into your life.