If you've never had a chilled fruit soup as a summer appetizer or dessert - you are missing out! Light, fruity, and silky, this saskatoon soup (using fresh or frozen saskatoons) is the glorious taste of sweet summer in a bowl. After that first cool spoonful, you'll take a deep breath and feel your body slow down as you savour every mouthful. What a great way to enjoy this unique berry. (Saskatoon soup is also delicious served hot on a cold winter day!)
This is the time of fullness in nature's garden. Everywhere you turn she offers up her bounty. Berries, fruits, leaves, seeds, and roots - we just cannot keep up with it all. The garden is a lush jungle, and I am busy canning, freezing, fermenting, and cooking. We try to share so that we don't waste any of it, but I do admit, the chickens are enjoying the gourmet extras at this time of year, too. We are in the midst of a heat wave (the rainy start to our summer is a distant memory already) and enjoying every minute of it. Here in the north, we are slower than the rest of the world, but when the growth happens, it is like an overnight explosion. Colour, growth, ripening harvest everywhere. It really is wonderful.
Our saskatoon bushes surprised us this year. We've been pruning them heavily the last few years to revive them. It looked like we wouldn't have much of a crop this season, and then boom - something happened! Within the matter of a week, those little green berries filled out and somehow multiplied in the night!
A few weeks ago we had a fun picking-day with our friends, Nicoletta and Loreto of the blog 'Sugar Love Spices'. We started our day with an outdoor luncheon and a first course of this light and refreshing chilled saskatoon soup. A cold soup is a surprise. It's just the right, bright first course to wake up our taste buds without being too heavy. And a big bowl of it can even be a light lunch served with some good bread and butter.
There's something quite delightful about sipping spoonfuls of a lightly sweet, fruity soup. The saskatoon flavour comes cleanly through in the silky-textured liquid, with the occasional pop of a saskatoon berry to give it texture. A dollop of yogurt adds a creamy tang to perfectly complement the rich berries.
After our lunch in the shade, we all headed out for the saskatoon bushes. Lots of laughter, lots of picking, and lots of popping berries into greedy mouths with stained fingers!
It was a fun and fruitful day, and the harvest was plenty.
Saskatoons - A Unique Northern Berry
There's something special about the flavour of saskatoons - you really can't compare their flavour with that of any other berry. They're sweet and rich with a hint of grape, almond, vanilla, and rose. They look similar to blueberries, but are botanically related to apples and roses - they are in the same order (Rosales) and family (Rosaceae) as both. Saskatoons look kinda like tiny apples or rosehips, with that same blossom end, and they are full of juicy pulp and lots of small seeds.
Saskatoons (Amelanchier alnifolia) are a berry of many names - serviceberry, juneberry, shadbush, chuckley pear, and pigeon berry. They can be found growing naturally in much of western Canada and the northwestern and north central United States, preferring a temperate climate. The bushes can be found in the forest understory, and also out in the open, especially on the prairies, growing along roadsides, ditches, and forest edges. The nutritional profile of saskatoons is similar to blueberries, with lots of fiber and a high amount of polyphenols, flavonols, and anthocyanins - a healthy little superfruit!
Saskatoon Soup - A Cool Treat for a Hot Day
The tradition of cold fruit soups comes from Scandinavian cuisine. And when I took a cooking class in Hungary years ago, we made a cold sour cherry soup for an appetizer, so it is also popular in Eastern European cooking. This chilled saskatoon soup is not difficult. It's best made the day before to give it time to chill fully, so it really is great for entertaining. In years past I'd make a big 2-liter jar of chilled fruit soup during hot weeks in the summer and keep it in the fridge. It is so handy to have the soup ready to serve as an appetizer or dessert when you don't feel like cooking.
Just cook up the berries with water until they're tender. Reserve a few of them to add to the soup later, and purée the rest by passing them through a food mill fitted with the fine disk to remove the seeds and skins.
If you don't have a food mill, it works just as well to push the berries through a large-meshed sieve with the back of a spoon (just takes a little more elbow grease).
Then you return the purée, reserved berries, and juice to the saucepan, add a bit of sugar, along with lemon zest and juice for brightness, and thicken the mixture lightly. I like to add a touch of rosewater to lightly enhance the floral flavour of the saskatoons, but a dash of vanilla is great, too. Chill the soup well, and it's ready to enjoy. (Though there's nothing wrong with serving it as a hot soup, either). If you're serving saskatoon soup for an appetizer or light lunch, a dollop of yogurt adds a wonderful creamy, tangy touch.
If you're serving the saskatoon soup as a dessert, a scoop of vanilla ice cream makes it decadent.
Summertime is berry time, but you can enjoy this wonderful soup recipe all year if you've frozen or canned a stash of delicious saskatoons.
More Saskatoon Recipes
See the gorgeous Saskatoon & Peach Galette that Nicoletta made.
Or check out these other tasty saskatoon berry recipes:
- Saskatoon Juice (And How to Easily Clean Your Saskatoon Berries)
- Saskatoon Roll or Saskatoon Cobbler (And How to Freeze Your Saskatoon Berries)
- Old Fashioned Saskatoon Pie
- Canned Saskatoons and Saskatoon-Peach Preserve
- Saskatoon Jelly
- Prairie Mess (Eton Mess with Saskatoons and Rhubarb)
- Saskatoon Pickle
- Gluten-Free Saskatoon Scones
- Saskatoon Muffins
- Saskatoon Slump
- Saskatoon Ice Cream Made with Homemade Saskatoon Jelly
- Pork Chops with Saskatoon and Green Apple Chutney
* * * * *
Chilled Saskatoon Soup
- food mill or large-meshed sieve
- 6 cups (900gms/2 lbs) saskatoon berries (can use fresh or frozen)
- 2¼ cups (540ml) water, divided
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 6 tablespoons (75gms) sugar preferably natural evaporated cane sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1½ tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon rosewater, optional or substitute with ¼ teaspoon vanilla
- Put the saskatoons in a medium sized saucepan.
- Combine ¼ cup (60ml) of the water with the cornstarch in a small bowl and set aside. Add the remaining 2 cups (480ml) of water to the saskatoons in the saucepan.
- Bring the saskatoons to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and cook them, covered, for 10 minutes.
- Scoop out 1 cup (250ml) of the cooked berries with a slotted spoon and set them aside.
- Put the remaining berries and juice through a food mill, using the fine disk, and set over a large bowl or the empty saucepan. (Don't clean the saucepan yet, you'll need it again.) Make sure to scrape all the pulp off the bottom of the food mill and add it to the juice.[*If you don't have a food mill, you can push the berries through a coarse sieve (not a colander) with the back of a spoon. It takes a little more time and effort, but it will work just as well. See the notes, below.]
- Measure the juice/pulp mixture. You will need 3½ cups (840ml) in total. If you have less than that, add water to make up the amount. Return the juice/pulp mixture to the saucepan.
- Add the reserved whole berries, sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice to the saucepan.
- Bring the soup to a boil. Stir up the cornstarch slurry, which will have settled, and pour it into the boiling soup, stirring constantly with the other hand as you pour so the cornstarch doesn't clump up.
- Boil for 30 seconds, then remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the rosewater.
- Allow the soup to cool, then chill it until cold - at least 3 to 4 hours.
- Serve the saskatoon soup as an appetizer with a dollop of plain yogurt in the center, or serve it for dessert with a scoop of vanilla ice cream in it.
- Serves 4 as an appetizer or 6 as a dessert.
Want to receive new Kitchen Frau recipes directly to your email? Sign up here and you’ll get a handy and useful kitchen tip along with each recipe, too. (No spam ever.)
PIN IT HERE to save the recipe for later:
You might also like: