A Berryful Bounty In Canada
The 150th Birthday Celebration of Canada as a nation, is upon us and many of us are now exploring the past. Myself included. I’ve been very curious to find out which food sources are most natural to the Canadian landscape. Some of the results I have uncovered have been pleasantly surprising.
To discover which foods are native to North America or Canada in particular requires looking back to a time when the Europeans were first arriving. Which food sources did they discover here in this land? And which food sources did they introduce in the form of seeds upon their arrival?
Today, we won’t dig into all of the answers to those questions. However, there was one group of food items that I discovered some interesting facts about.
Canada–home to the First Nations people, was teeming with foods naturally growing in this unique land. Adaptable to the harsh climate, just like its residents. Those First Nations people had learned to follow the seasons and the buffalo, caribou, and other wildlife essential for meat.
Also abundant was berries. Lots and lots of a wide variety of berries. Even today in 2017, many of these same berries cannbe located throughout Canada. Go for a walk in the bush, or down a country roadside, and you can find many of these still growing in the wild.
Others have been taken on by today’s farmers, who have nourished and encouraged these bushes and their colourful fruit to grow more abundantly. You and your children can even go and pick your own basket of berries at Pick-Your-Own-Berry-Farms. You can also find many of these fine examples of Canadian Native Berries at local Farmer’s Markets or Fruit & Vegetable roadside stands.
Berries are so versatile in meal making too. From garnishing meat dishes such as Sugar Free Cranberry Glazed Ham to berry sauces drizzled over cakes, fruit salads and even cold soups.
Most commonly we know of them in desserts such as:
- fruit breads / loafs
- sauces, preserves, jams, and jellies
- vinegar Raspberry Vinegar – dating back to pre-1800’s
- fruit crisps
- pancakes / waffles
- biscuits / scones and more
This summer, enjoy a dish of whatever berries you can find in your region in a Berry Yogurt Parfait. Remembering, that this food source has been feeding people living in Canada for hundreds of years. Even before Confederation.
The Berry Dozen
Try any one or more of these berries–
Although there are even more berries that are native to Canada—these 12 varieties are worthy to mention. These can be found in every Province and Territory. So discover what berries unite us all—
Bearberry (also known as: Kinnikinnick)
Try Some Trivia Fun
Here is a downloadable PDF that you can use to test your knowledge about Canadian berries. Simply match the names to the photos. See whether you can successfully match all 12 varieties.
The interesting part about these 12 berries is that they are found all across our great nation. In every Province and Territory. Making these 12 examples a truly uniting food source.
So just click to download this Canadian Trivia sheet. Give it a fair go and see how many you know.
What about the answers? Yes, so you can see how well you did and then test this on your family and friends—here is the answer sheet too.
If you would like to learn more about Canadian edible plants, check out this website. It is full of useful information.
Get Berry Picking
As we are just getting into the beginning of berry picking season, why not pack up the kids and go picking. Go to a local Pick-Your-Own-Berry-Farm just to try the experience. And while out for a walk along country roadsides—keep your eyes open. Which Canadian berries can you still spot growing in the wild?
Indeed, there is a berryful bounty in Canada.
Happy Birthday Canada!