Monday, July 13, 2009
Grandmother's Juneberry Pie
As a wee lad my grandmother used to make pies out of what she called Juneberries. She used little pot pie tins and made my brother and I each pies regularly while the berries were in season. One of my fondest childhood memories, I'm smiling while I write this, was eating those little pies and, unbeknownst to my mother, watching grandma's favorite show, MASH, on a little black and white television in her single wide trailer. In remembrance of those times each summer in early July when the Saskatoon's (Juneberries) are ripe we not only pick many gallons for later use but my wife makes a simple pie out of the almond flavored berries.
The Saskatoon, serviceberry, or Juneberry is a shrub native to some parts of the U.S. and Canada that grows wild all over Northern Idaho. Saskatoon berries contain higher levels of protein, fat, and fiber than most other fruit. They were once used by native people as a key ingredient in pemmican, a nutritious traditional Cree Indian food comprised of dried venison or other wild game, animal fat, bone marrow, and berries.
We use this berry as an indicator of when to begin hunting for huckleberries as the earliest ones ripen around the same time. Many of this year's berries seem a bit small and not nearly as numerous as last year due to the lack of moisture this summer. Hopefully the mountain huckleberries have fared better, we shall soon find out.