Dietary fads are ten a penny these days. We’re told to cut out the gluten, take in more fibrous fruits, and look to exotic varieties of unbelievably-good-for-you-produce in order to stand a chance of not dying at the earliest opportunity.
There’s a problem, though. Many of the most desirable food stuffs aren’t that cheap. In fact they cost an arm and a leg, and can only be found in that yuppie green grocer in that particular part of town. But what if we were able to grow a variety right here in our own home? Needless to say, it’s a tempting thought, but blueberries and cranberries don’t do very well in a cold Yorkshire garden, do they (even with the ongoing rainfall)?
Well, no, however there may yet be an answer, and it comes in the guise of the not-so-humble Saskatoon. Here’s our guide to this little-known but soon-to-be-everywhere berry, which should shed a little light on why it’s so good for you, and how you can start cultivating the fruitbearing shrub in your own back yard. Without further ado then…
What’s your name?
I’m a saskatoon.
Where do you come from?
North America- the U.S. and Canada- at relatively high altitudes.
What do you look like?
I’m a shrub that can grow between one and eight metres high. My leaves are oval-shaped and toothy, meanwhile my berries are purple in colour.
When are you in season?
That really depends on where you are. I’m usually ready for picking by early-summer if you live in coastal areas. Those further inland may need to wait a month or two.
Someone once told me you were a superfood?
Well, I don’t like to brag, but thanks to high levels of protein, fibre, and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and manganese you could call me a superfood, yes.
How do you taste?
Some say I bear similarities to a blueberry, but with more bitterness present- perhaps like a raisin or dark cherry.
What’s the best way to eat you?
I’m no gooseberry, so it’s possible to pluck from the bush and put straight into your mouth, maybe with some fresh cream. Having said that, in my native North America people love baking me in pies and making jams from my loveliness.
What do I need to do for you to grow in my garden?
I don’t mind frosts, but if my flowers are exposed to late frosts I can be damaged. Most diseases and pests that I hate are only found in North America, but keep on the look out for aphids, caterpillers, mildewe and canker. Full sunlight is not a problem, but it’s a good idea to ensure I’m on a mild slope to allow for water and air drainage.
Image credit: John Freeland on Flickr
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