On Sunday we had one of those magic summer days. It actually felt a bit like a holiday, even though we didn’t really go very far from our home. I read while Linden napped, we enjoyed delicious meals including French toast and a picnic lunch, took a long walk on a bike trail near a lake, and stumbled upon berries ripe for the picking.
The day made me realize how hard the past few months (year…) has been because I felt so starkly different than I had remembered feeling lately. I was happy! For the whole day! Which, I think, is just a little reminder that being a new mom—a new parent—is hard work…as are starting a new phase of a career, moving house, settling in, and adjusting to a new town. Perhaps one shouldn’t really try to do all of those things in the same year if possible! Thankfully, we’re over the hump of all of that hoopla and life is feeling settled, normal, and really rather enjoyable.
Anyway, back to the berries.
What you see above are juneberries, which are also called serviceberries or Saskatoon berries. They sort of resemble blueberries, but are a bit seedier and have their own distinct flavor. The berries grow on trees (though it sounds like they start out as bushes and the size totally depends on how they are pruned) and they are deep purple when ripe and more reddish when not quite ready.
They grow in northern climates and are quite available in Canada. I’d never had them, or even heard of them, before Sunday, though my husband had a few bushes on the land where he grew up in Montana (it sounds like they weren’t much in demand there since they had raspberries, huckleberries, cherries, and more to enjoy instead!).
I don’t know that I’ve ever randomly come across such a huge patch of ready-to-eat, wild fruit before, so I was super excited about the berries. We picked a few containers full (containers that we happened to have with us from our picnic lunch) and I have since made pancakes (served with whipped cream!) and muffins (with chocolate chips!) with them.
We learned that they lose a lot of sweetness once they are off the tree—there was no comparison with the berries we ate right off the branches and the ones we ate the next day—but I still love knowing where to find these berries each year. Linden loved picking and eating as many berries as she could get her little hands on, which is making me very excited to take her out West to visit family next month where there will hopefully be huckleberries and blueberries for her to help harvest.
Maybe next year we’ll harvest a whole bucket full and turn them into jam! (Yes, I am that excited about the prospect:)