For a few years now we have enjoyed the early July serviceberries, also called saskatoon berries, that ripen on many trees used locally in city landscaping. The summer I was pregnant with Maus, a friend of ours came for dinner with a handful of berries he had picked on his way over. I was amazed at how many serviceberry trees there were around town, and every year since I seem to find a few more.
Some trees are more upright, and others grow more as bushes. We sought out the ones with lower hanging branches so that even little hands could help pick the berries. Instead of Blueberries for Sal, it ought to have been Serviceberries for Maus, as I think for every one berry that made it into her bowl, she ate 4.
Plenty of the serviceberries were eaten just as they are. With both Cub and Mausi huddled round the bowl. Some were put on granola for breakfast. And this year, I thought I might try my hand at making jam. I have never actually made jam before. Any jam. But I thought serviceberry jam was as good a place as any to start. I found a recipe online and set to work. The recipe called for 4 cups of berries and 3 cups of sugar. I reduced the sugar to just over 2 cups and the jam is still very sweet. Maybe next year I will try and reduce the sugar some more and hope the jam still gels well enough…
This jam however is particularly tasty stirred in to plain yoghurt and I am very much looking forward to trying it with a bit of brie cheese. The kids, of course, still think it tastes pretty good on bread.
What I find particularly neat is that the serviceberry (Amelanchier laevis) is also a native tree, and in its native range can be found from Newfoundland to Ontario. Tasty berries, and a native tree, if we ever need to plant a tree, it may just have to be a serviceberry.
Have any of you made serviceberry jam with a recipe you love? Have you mixed serviceberries with any other berries?
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