In the original Cree the word is Mis-sask-quah-too-mina.
Sir William Francis Butler called them Saskootum berries or poire (pepper) berries.
Depending on where you are from, you might have heard the names Service berries, June berries, Shadberries, Sugar Pear, or Indian Pear. But around here, we call an Amelanchier alnifolia Nutt. a Saskatoon.
Pick them hot and fresh from the bush, rinse them off and cook them, can them, bake ’em in a pie. Or eat them fresh. If you’re all out of bear butter, drizzle cream on top or stir them into ice cream melt. An old recipe for berry brick involved steaming, mashing and drying the berries into bars for easy transport and storage. It just needed boiling to reconstitute them and make a tasty soup or drink.
How do you like your saskatoons? We’d love to hear from you, especially if you have a recipe at the ready!