Saskatoon berries spark fond summertime memories

A favourite childhood memory for many of us who grew up on the Prairies is foraging for saskatoon berries.

I have given little thought to the differences between wild foraged and cultivated types. Like any other fruit or berry, each type will have its own particular characteristics.

I asked Elaine Bouvier of Bouvier’s Berry Basket near Kincaid, Sask., what she grows in her orchard.

“I am not sure which ones are more widely grown but the most popular varietals in my orchard are Thiessen and Martin. They have larger and sweeter berries.”

She said about 20 different varieties of saskatoons exist.

In her orchard, she has four types: Smoky, Northline, Martin and Thiessen.

She said Smoky is the oldest variety and is closest in characteristics to wild saskatoons. They tend to ripen about a week later than the others.

Bouvier said saskatoons continue to ripen after picking, like apples, so pick the whole cluster and by the next morning they will all be ripe.

Rhubarb saskatoon sweet tea

  • 12 tea bags, black tea
  • 4 c. rhubarb, chopped 1 L
  • 1 c. saskatoon jam 250 mL
  • ice
  • saskatoons and thinly sliced rhubarb for garnish, optional

Bring four cups (1 L) of water to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add chopped rhubarb. Simmer gently for about 15 minutes.

Strain and put rhubarb water back in the saucepan. Bring to a boil again and remove from heat.

Add teabags to hot water and steep for five minutes. Then remove the bags and discard.

Add saskatoon jam and stir until completely dissolved.

Pour the tea into pitchers or a one gallon (four litre) jar. If using multiple pitchers, divide the tea evenly among them.

Top off the pitchers with water. Add 12 cups (three litres) more water to the tea to make a gallon (four litres) of sweet tea and stir to combine.

Refrigerate until very cold, at least four hours or, ideally, overnight.

Serve over ice with saskatoons and thin slices of rhubarb, if desired.

Saskatoon berryripple ice cream

  • 2 c. saskatoons 500 mL
  • 1 c. sugar 250 mL
  • 1/2 c. sugar 125 mL
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 c. scalded whole milk 500 mL
  • 1 c. whipping cream 250 mL
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract 10 mL

Bring saskatoons and one cup sugar (250 mL) to a gentle boil. Simmer uncovered for about five minutes. Cool completely in the refrigerator.

In a medium saucepan, whisk together 1/2 cup (125 mL) sugar and egg yolks until pale and thickened. Slowly whisk in scalded milk.

Return to stovetop and cook over medium heat until mixture thickens, about five minutes. Do not boil or mixture may curdle. Chill custard until very cold.

Whip the cream and vanilla to soft peaks.

Fold whipped cream into chilled custard and process in an ice cream maker for about 25 minutes.

Drop spoonfuls of the saskatoon sauce over the top and fold in, mixing only a few times to create ripples of saskatoons in the ice cream.

Transfer ice cream to reusable tubs and freeze for about an hour before serving.

Lemony saskatoon pound cake


  • 1 c. unsalted butter, at room temperature 250 mL
  • 1 c. sugar 250 mL
  • 1 tbsp. finely grated lemon zest 15 mL
  • 4 large eggs at room temperature
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract 10 mL
  • 2 c. all-purpose flour 500 mL
  • 1 tsp. baking powder 5 mL
  • 1/4 tsp. fine salt 1 mL
  • 1 1/2 c. fresh or thawed and drained frozen saskatoon berries 375 mL


  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice 30 mL
  • 3/4 c. icing sugar, sifted 175 mL

Preheat oven to 275 F (140 C) and spray a loaf or bundt pan with oil.

Beat butter, sugar and zest with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla.

Whisk dry ingredients together and add to butter mixture in two additions, mixing on low speed. Add saskatoon berries with the final portion of dry ingredients.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 20 minutes.

Increase oven temperature to 325 F (160 C) and bake for another 50 to 60 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean.

Cool for 30 minutes in the pan, then remove from pan and cool on wire rack.

For glaze, whisk lemon juice and icing sugar together until smooth and pour over cake. When glaze has set, cover with kitchen plastic wrap.

Keep at room temperature until ready to serve. Adapted from Anna Olson.

Saskatoon lemon cake roll


  • 5 large eggs, room temperature
  • 3/4 c. sugar 175 mL
  • 3/4 c. all-purpose flour 175 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder 2 mL

Lemon syrup:

  • 1/4 c. warm water 60 mL
  • 1 tbsp. sugar 15 mL
  • 1/4 c. fresh lemon juice 60 mL


  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened 250 g
  • 1/2 c. unsalted butter, softened 125 mL
  • 1 c. icing sugar plus more for dusting 250 mL
  • 1 c. saskatoon berries, fresh or thawed and drained frozen 250 mL

Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C). Line the bottom of an 18×13-inch (45×33 cm) baking sheet with parchment paper. Do not grease.

Add five eggs to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment and beat on high speed until foamy. Gradually add sugar and beat until thick, fluffy and tripled in volume, about seven minutes.

Whisk flour and baking powder together and sift into egg batter one third at a time, folding to incorporate between each addition and scraping from the bottom to catch hidden flour pockets. Stop mixing when you no longer see streaks of flour.

Pour into lined baking sheet and bake until top is golden, about 13 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately run a knife around edges of cake to loosen from the pan.

While cake is hot, invert cake face down onto a clean, dry kitchen towel that has been dusted with icing sugar (use a sieve to apply a thin layer of icing sugar to the towel). Remove parchment paper then roll cake, long side toward you, into the towel. Let cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, combine all ingredients for lemon syrup in a pot and heat until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.

In a large mixing bowl, combine softened cream cheese, softened butter and icing sugar. Beat together starting on low speed to incorporate sugar, then turn the mixer up to high speed until whipped, white and fluffy, scraping down the bowl as needed.

Gently stir saskatoon berries into cream cheese mixture until incorporated.

Carefully unroll cake and loosen from the towel. Brush the top with lemon syrup. Put dollops of saskatoon berry frosting over the surface and spread evenly.

Roll the cake tightly in the same direction you rolled it the first time.

Slice off the edges, if desired, and dust generously with icing sugar.

Sarah Galvin is a home economist, teacher and farmers’ market vendor at Swift Current, Sask., and a member of Team Resources. She writes a blog at Contact:

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