Saskatoon berries may look like blueberries, but the shrub is actually more closely related to an apple tree.
According to NPR’s The Salt, the berry,
“…is pretty common in Canada but hasn’t been grown by farmers in the U.S. until recently. Here [in the U.S.], the berry, also sometimes called the serviceberry, has been collected in the wild for generations.”
Until recently the berry had not been commercially grown in the U.S.. The commercial strain, which produces a larger berry with fewer seeds, has just found its way to farmers in Michigan, but hopes to have a nationwide presence eventually.
So what do they taste like? Well, it’s kind of hard to say. Here’s Steve DuCheney, who grows the berries in northern Michigan:
“Every time I eat them I get a different flavor…The other day I had somebody tell me they tasted like peach, and that was the first time I heard that one.”
Some people describe the flavor as being nutty, like almonds, and still others say that the berry is sort of like a mix between blueberries and cherries. But everyone seems to agree that the berry is sweet and good for pies.
The saskatoon berry is also a “super fruit”, meaning that it has high levels of antioxidants which help fight heart disease. It also provides 5 essential vitamins and minerals and contains high levels of fiber.
Saskatoon pie, anyone?