What is a Saskatoon Berry?
Never heard of a Saskatoon Berry? They may not grow where you live. The Saskatoon is native to the Canadian Prairies, Northern Canada, British Columbia, the Northwestern, North Central United States and Alaska and the berries grow on trees that reach heights of 15 feet.
As you can see from the photos on this page, Saskatoon Berries resemble blueberries in size as well as color. Although the taste is somewhat similar to a blueberry there is a unique subtle flavour of a "wild" fruit in the Saskatoon Berry. It is just recently that a commercially viable method of processing them has been developed. Up until a few years ago these berries have been unavailable in the mainstream market.
Commercial production of Saskatoon Berries is greatly confined to Canada where current demand exceeds supply. The first Saskatoon Orchard ever planted was fewer than 20 years ago. The Saskatoon Berry industry has grown to be the second largest commercial fruit crop on the Canadian Prairies, second only to strawberries. Studies indicate that the potential to produce, process and export Saskatoon Berry products is world wide, making for an exciting industry.
Antioxidant-Rich and Healthy
Native Americans used the Saskatoon Bush for medicinal purposes. This has not been lost on modern science as the berry has recently been found to be very high in antioxidants particularly phenolics, flavonols and anthocyanins. Antioxidants have been discovered to have the beneficial health effects of reducing age-associated oxidative stress and possessing anti-inflammatory properties. The word Saskatoon is derived from the Cree name for the bush Mis-sask-qua-too-mina. Early Pioneers took to the berries immediately and picking wild saskatoons has carried on through the generations.
How Saskatoons are Harvested
Previously the bushes were not planted in orchards and picking them was not cost efficient. Last Mountain Berry Farms has been a pioneer in making Saskatoon berries a commercial success by planting the bushes in an orchard and helping to develop cost effective means of harvesting. The last 10 years has seen an explosion in sales for them and we are very happy that they are now producing CANADA'S SASKATOON JAM™ for us.
Saskatoons are a must have. If you have never had Saskatoon Berries you are truly missing out. A perfect introduction to them would be our CANADA'S SASKATOON JAM™; a delightfully sweet Canadian treat or Last Mountain Berry Farms' Saskatoon Jam Type Spread.
Interesting Nutritional Information on Saskatoons
Customers have not only discovered the unique sweet taste of these berries but also the nutritional value Saskatoon berries have. Below is a comparison of nutritional values of various berries:
|Per 100g||Saskatoon berries||Blueberries||Strawberries||Raspberries|
|Energy||84.84 Ca||51 Ca||37 Ca||49 Ca|
|Protein||1.33 g||.42 g||.7 g||.91 g|
|Carbohydrate||18.49 g||12.17 g||8.4 g||11.57 g|
|Total Lipid (fat)||.49 g||.64 g||.5 g||.55 g|
|Total Fibre||5.93 g||2.7 g||1.3 g||4.9 g|
|Vitamin C||3.55 mg||2.5 mg||59 mg||25 mg|
|Iron||.96 mg||.18 mg||1 mg||.75 mg|
|Potassium||162.12 mg||54 mg||21 mg||152 mg|
|Vitamin A||35.68 IU||100 IU||27 IU||130 IU|
Source: Saskatoon berries, SFGA, Conducted by POS Pilot Plant, assistance of Native Fruit Development Program (February 2003); Other fruit--USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 15 (August 2002)
Saskatoon Nutrients: The Journal of Food Science - Volume 47 1982 Dr. G. Mazza
Saskatoons appear to be an excellent source of manganese, magnesium, iron, calcium, potassium, copper and carotene. A 100 gram serving of fresh saskatoons will supply 88 mg of calcium or 11% of the Recommended Dietary Allowance. Saskatoons can be considered a better source of calcium than red meats, vegetables and cereals.
Saskatoons are an excellent source of iron! 22.3% of the Recommended Dietary Allowance in a 100 gram serving. (Hope,1965) suggested that saskatoon berries may be a natural source of iron for anemic persons. Saskatoons supply 33.8% of the Recommended Dietary Allowance of manganese and 7% of the Recommended Dietary Allowance of copper.
Recent research indicates saskatoons have very high components of phenolics, flavonols and anthocyanins. Saskatoons are high in sugar, rich in Vitamin C, and also contain more than three times as much iron and copper in the same weight as raisins.
The Saskatoon Experience
Saskatchewan Naturally Magazine published an interesting article written by Amy Jo Ehman in 2000 on Saskatoon Berries entitled "A Rose by Any Other Name". The article is in PDF format and requires Adobe Acrobat Reader to open (free).