I never liked saskatoon berries when I moved to Pemberton. What was the fuss about? The little things were grainy and full of seeds. I was not impressed although I knew people who adored them. Years passed, and each year I ignored the little purple berries that grew so plentifully around me. Then one day I looked down in my yard and it was covered in little shrivelled saskatoons. They had dropped off the tree and the sun had dried them out. I popped one in my mouth and the flavour was unexpectedly…fantastic. Like a raisin or currant but better. I scooped up all the berries I could and gobbled them up.
The next year I purposely dried a few cups of saskatoon berries in a dehydrator and used them in a cracker recipe with rosemary, substituting saskatoons for raisins. Then two years ago I started enjoying the taste of fresh saskatoons. I will now paw through all the trees in my yard like a bear and cram them into my mouth. Yes, my taste buds really have changed. I eagerly anticipate the arrival of these little berries now.
As a non-gardener (I am pretty much successful with only rhubarb, raspberries, apples, plums and cherries – and possibly parsley and cilantro if I’m lucky) saskatoons are an amazing return on zero investment. No watering, no weeding. My kind of berry!
My granola recipe which follows is adapted from my aunt’s recipe. We share an enthusiasm for a dry granola (not soggy or moist) that stays crunchy in milk. Many granola recipes call for oil which I think is not a good ingredient in granola. After your granola is baked, add a cup of dried saskatoons for a Pemberton treat!
Crunchy Almond Granola with Dried Saskatoons:
2/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
2 cups chopped almonds (almond pieces should be the size of gravel)
3 cups slow oats
½ tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
½ cup runny honey (warm on very low heat if hardened)
1 cup dried saskatoon berries
Preheat oven to 300F.
Combine all ingredients (can use a mixer). When fully combined, add honey. Mix very well.
Spread onto two parchment-lined rimmed baking sheets.
Bake for approximately 30 minutes, stirring the granola thoroughly every 10 minutes. You must watch granola carefully as it will burn quickly and every oven is different.
Add 1 cup dried saskatoons.
Mix well and store in glass jar in fridge for up to several months. Granola and plain Greek yogurt makes an easy, quick, and nutritious breakfast! Enjoy!