Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Wild Edibles - Juneberries! (Saskatoons, Serviceberries)
The other morning, I ran into a neighbor of ours holding a pot of purplish blue berries she'd just picked from several tall bushes planted throughout our development. At that moment, I was introduced to the world of juneberries, also known as saskatoons and serviceberries. I'd read about them before but never knew enough to recognize them in the world. When she had me try one, I was really surprised by how very sweet and tasty they were. The flower ends are a bit though and the seeds are more pronounced than say blueberry seeds, but I can imagine they would make a wonderful jam if strained and with a bit of acid added into the mix. Interesting thing about the seeds - if you bite into them, you get this little burst of almond flavor.
Juneberries start out red but ripen into a purplish blue. I was surprised to find that most of the bushes had been left unpicked and that many of the berries had shriveled up under the recent heatwave. Despite this, Jonathan and I (well, mostly me) picked about 4 lbs of decent-looking berries, some of which I'll turn into a dessert for one of our community dinners and the rest...well you'll find out tomorrow.
The interesting thing about wild edibles (by this, I mean plants you normally wouldn't find in the supermarket or even at the farmers markets) is that once you are formally introduced to them and experience their goodness, they usually stay with your for the rest of your life. This time next year, I can imagine Jonathan recognizing juneberries whenever and wherever they appear during our outings.