This post we are focusing less on a vintage recipe and more about a vintage practice, Berry Picking!
For many, berry picking is synonymous with summertime. And during these warmer months Strathcona County is filled with wild edible berries including raspberries, sasksatoons, chokecherries, and highbush cranberries. Thelma Petruk remembers, " how many times I had a belt put around me with a bucket tied to it and all five, six of us would trot out off to the bush in the summer behind our place and pick saskatoons and raspberries. It was just an endless job for mum but that’s what she wanted to do.” Generations of people living in this area have sustained themselves from these plants.
But, what do you do with all those berries? There are so many options, you can eat them fresh, make jam, or make a delectable dessert. With my saskatoon haul I decided to make my first ever pie, GULP ! It was a great learning experience, from picking and washing the berries, hand making the crust, preparing the filling, pinching the edges, and to finally pulling it out of the oven. But you know what the best part of it all was? Sharing it with my family, yes I know, cheesy, but true!
Berry picking encourages people to learn about the land they live on, know the plants that grow there, and to share in the land’s gifts. I encourage people to learn about the bountiful landscape they live on and the food it provides. Take a step back in time and engage in a vintage experience… go berry picking!
*please research before you go picking! There are poisonous berries in Alberta, make sure you are aware and knowledgeable about the potential hazardous plant species.
Pastry: 4 cups flour 1 tbsp sugar 1 tsp salt 1 ½ cups cold unsalted butter (3 sticks) ½ cup ice cold water 1 tsp white vinegar 1 large egg lightly beaten Combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Add cubes/pieces of cold butter and pulse with a food processor until small crumbs remain. Mix water, vinegar and egg together. Slowly pour mixture over dough while pulsing, stop when the dough comes together. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. This recipe makes enough for two pies, use both or freeze the other portion. Saskatoon Filling: 4 ½ cups of Saskatoon berries (dependent on how big your pie plate is) ½ cup of white sugar 2 ½ tbsp. of corn starch *butter if desire *egg wash and sugar for pie top Combine sugar and corn starch. Toss berries in mixture until lightly coated. Place in pie crust and add butter to the top if so desired. After covering with second pie crust (on top) lightly brush with an egg wash and lightly sprinkle sugar.