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Juneberries grow on small shrub-like trees that reach approximately 5 to 8 meters in height. The ovate leaves have a gently toothed margin and turn brilliant shades orange and red in the fall. In early spring the trees are laden with whitish pink blossoms which later develop into clusters of small green berries. Fully ripe Juneberries become a shade of dark purple with an occasional magenta blush and average one to two centimeters in diameter. The inner flesh is a translucent green and studded with several tiny soft seeds. Though their flavor is considerably milder than blueberries, Juneberries offer complex notes of dark cherry, raisin and plum.
Juneberries are available in the summer.
The Juneberry is also commonly referred to as Serviceberry, Shadbush or Saskatoon and is a member of the Amelanchier genus. The plant can reproduce asexually and is prone to hybridization resulting in over 30 varieties catalogued to date. In fact, many botanists are faced with difficulty teasing out the many subspecies and different hybrids. The cultivars most preferred for their large edible fruit are mainly of the alnifolia species and include the following varieties: Honeywood, Northline, Pembina, and Smokey Juneberry.
Though the Juneberry closely resembles the blueberry it offers considerably more health benefits. With a much lower moisture content they hold richer concentrations of calcium, fiber, proteins, carbohydrates and lipids. Juneberries contain almost twice as much iron as blueberries and are an amazing source of anthocyanins.
Juneberries can be used very similarly to blueberries in most applications. Their slightly firmer texture enables them to hold their shape very well and they do not release nearly as much moisture. Use Juneberries to make baked goods, jams, jellies, pies and tart fillings. They lend themselves to savory applications as well. Add Juneberries to a demiglace to accompany beef or venison. Combine bacon, onion, sage and Juneberries into a stuffing recipe for a pork roast, pheasant or duck. Juneberries also take well to freezing and dehydrating for prolonged storage.
While 'Juneberry' is the overwhelmingly preferred alias for this fruit in the United States, across the northern border in Canada, 'Saskatoon' prevails. This once wild berry is now cultivated all over the country, especially in its namesake province Saskatchewan with exports measuring in the tons. The berry is even celebrated annually at the Saskatoon berry festival in Mortlach, Saskatchewan.
Juneberries are a native species of North America. They are believed to have originated from an area spanning from the midwestern United States to the northern prairie region of Canada. Some botanists theorize that the Juneberry is a naturally occurring hybrid of two other North American Amelanchier species: either A. canadensis and A. laevis, or A. arboreta and A. laevis. Unlike blueberries which can be quite fickle about growing conditions, Juneberries are quite hardy thriving in poor soils with bitterly cold and even dry climates.
Recipes that include Foraged Juneberries. One is easiest, three is harder.
|Food Meanderings||Saskatoon Berry Tiramisu Dessert Shooters|
|Cee Jay Writer||Juneberry Jelly|
|Eat the Weeds||Juneberry Pie|