What IS A Saskatoon BerrY?
Saskatoon berry (Amelanchier alnifolia) is a rosaceous pome and a wild fruit of North American prairies.
Historically, the fruit has been widely used by the native Indians in making pemmican. The Saskatoon Berry is identified by several other names including saskatoons, serviceberry, maycherry, juneberry, shadbush, shadblossom, pigeonberry, pembina plum, sugar pear, Indian peer, lance wood, bill berry, Canadian medlar and rocky mountain blueberry.
Saskatoons are cold-hardy plants that withstand a temperature as low as -60°C and have a lifespan of 30 to 50 years. In Canada, orchard cultivation of saskatoons began as far back as 1918. Many cultivars of Saskatoon Berries are commercially grown and that includes Bluff, Buffalo, Elizabeth, Forestburg, Honeywood, JB 30, Martin, Nelson, Northline, PAR 90, Parkhill, Pearson II, Pembina, Smoky, Success and Thiessen. An orchard with mature trees of 12-15 years old yields 6,000-8,600 kg/ha (St-Pierre, 2005).
Explore Popular Uses of the Saskatoon Berry
“A functional food is similar in appearance to, or may be a conventional food, is consumed as part of a usual diet, and is demonstrated to have physiological benefits and/or reduce the risk of chronic disease beyond basic nutritional functions”
A growing number of studies have demonstrated the health benefits of polyphenols including anticancer, antitumor, anti-inflammatory and anti-mutagenic effects and oxygen-radical scavenging to minimize lipoprotein oxidation
(Le Marchand et al., 2000; Kong et al., 2008).
This information boom on the positive health effects of blue-purple fruits has helped Saskatoon Berries enter into the ever-expanding functional food market. As Health Canada defines, “a functional food is similar in appearance to, or may be a conventional food, is consumed as part of a usual diet, and is demonstrated to have physiological benefits and/or reduce the risk of chronic disease beyond basic nutritional functions”. Thus, fruits that are significant sources of anthocyanins and polyphenols, such as Saskatoon Berries, now qualify as functional foods.
Polyphenols are a heterogeneous group of plant metabolites that includes thousands of natural chemicals. These chemical compounds show a huge diversity in molecular weights, chain lengths and isomeric structures. Within a plant species, considerable polyphenol diversity is observed due to the differences in genetics and environment. As a result, only a limited number of less complex plant polyphenols have been analyzed and reported (Cheynier, 2005). Even though saskatoons have been introduced as a commercial fruit decades ago, not much information is available on polyphenol diversity of Saskatoon Berries, as influenced by cultivar and locality (i.e., soil fertility, temperature, irrigation and pest and diseases) differences. This report was put together by the Saskatoon Berry Council of Canada to share the recent research on health attributes of saskatoons, and where possible provide comparative information from other berry fruits considered in the function food market.
THE SASKATOON BERRY; BRINGING YOU ESSENTIAL MINERALS & DIETARY FIBRE
- CALCIUM contributes to growth and maintenance of bones and functioning of muscles.
- IRON is necessary for oxygen transport system of blood.
- SODIUM & POTASSIUM help maintaining the electrolyte balance.
- Some minerals serve as co-factors of enzymes.
- DIETARY FIBRE improves bowel movement.