This lovely sweet-tangy Saskatoon Pickle is a lightly spiced preserve full of fresh saskatoon berry flavour. Use it like you would use cranberry sauce or a mild chutney. It's great with ham, pork, chicken, turkey, duck, on sandwiches, or alongside a cheese platter. (Skip to recipe.)
Our saskatoon bushes went on strike this year. I was so sad. We watched the few clusters of berries slowly ripen, shrivel and disappear. The birds had a heyday polishing off what few berries there were. We've got to do some research to see what we can do to revive these bushes that used to produce so prolifically.
Maybe our saskatoons just picked up the vibes from this strange year of Covid and decided they wanted to go into hibernation for a season and avoid 2020 altogether.
Luckily, friends gifted us with two pails of juicy, ripe saskatoons from their bushes, which had no such temperamental vagaries as ours did (thank you Garry and Meredith 🙂 ).
We got to enjoy our fill of these sweet berries, and I got a chance to make a couple more batches of the delicious saskatoon pickle recipe I was working on last year - tweaked now until it's just right and ready to share with you.
In other years I've made muffins, scones, pies, juice, ice cream, many jars of jam and jelly, canned them, and frozen a bunch, but the most exciting new taste has been this most delectable and unusual Saskatoon Pickle - a kind of cross between a chutney, a preserve, and a savoury sauce. I found a recipe in an old 1979 'Women of Unifarm' cookbook - the kind that's a collection of local recipes. I dropped the sugar content, upped the vinegar and spices, and added a thickening agent, as the original recipe was just berries pickled in a brine. The result is this utterly delicious, tangy saskatoon chutney/preserve/sauce, loaded with lightly pickled berries swimming in a pool of dark and glowing spiced fruity glaze.
It's mild, but full of that fantastic nutty, smoky saskatoon berry flavour accented with a hint of spices; the perfect accompaniment to cold meats or hot ones, or as part of a cheese platter. I've been enjoying snacks of toasted bread topped with slices of brie cheese and a deep purple puddle of Saskatoon Pickle - amazing. The berries stay firm and give toothsome little pops of flavour in their shiny, tangy sauce. It's altogether as beautiful to look at as it is fantastic to eat.
I'm so excited to have this stash of Saskatoon Pickle in my pantry for the coming winter - a culinary treasure. It'll be such a treat to bring out one of those jewel-toned jars to serve with all kinds of meals. We've devoured this saskatoon pickle with pork chops, roasts, grilled chicken, and on sandwiches.
It's fantastic instead of cranberry sauce with Thanksgiving turkey and Christmas goose, and it's a real treat served with roasted ham or leftover cold sliced ham. It goes so well with cheeses and is a real star of charcuterie platters - just tuck a small bowl of Saskatoon Pickle among a pretty array of sausages, cheeses, and crackers.
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)
- Gluten Free Saskatoon Scones
- Saskatoon Muffins
- Saskatoon Slump
- Saskatoon Ice Cream Made with Homemade Saskatoon Jelly
- Pork Chops with Saskatoon and Green Apple Chutney
It isn't summer if I don't get my fix of delicious saskatoon berries to stuff my face with at least once!
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Kitchen Frau Notes: If you're hesitant about canning, you can easily make half of this recipe; just put the saskatoon pickle into clean jars or containers with tight-fitting lids, and keep them in the fridge for up to 6 months. Or make the full recipe and give some of the jars away (telling the lucky recipients to store them in the fridge).
If the saskatoon berry season is over where you live, you can make this recipe with frozen berries, too.
- 5 lbs (2.27kg/16 cups) saskatoon berries, picked over and rinsed
- 2 cups (400gms) sugar
- 2 cups (480ml) apple cider vinegar, divided
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon powdered ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1½ teaspoons pepper
- 6 tablespoons (45gms) cornstarch
Bring the sugar, 1½ cups (360ml) of the vinegar, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, salt, and pepper to a boil in a large pot. Reduce heat to medium and cook, uncovered, at a low boil for 10 minutes, until the liquid is slightly syrupy.
Add the saskatoon berries and bring the mixture to a boil, occasionally stirring gently. Reduce the heat to low-medium and simmer the berries gently for 10 minutes.
Mix the cornstarch with the remaining ½ cup (120ml) of vinegar and pour it into the saskatoon pickle mixture, scraping all the last bits in with a spatula. Return the fruit to a boil and cook for one more minute, until thickened and clear.
Pour the saskatoon pickle into sterilized jars, seal, and process the jars in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes according to proper canning procedure (see method here).
Leave the saskatoon pickle for at least 48 hours for flavours to develop before using. The jars will keep in a cool, dark place for up to 2 years. Refrigerate once opened.
Makes 5 pints, with a little bit left over to sample. Serve with chicken, turkey, duck, pork, or cheese.
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