What Are the Local Foods of Saskatchewan?

A Canadian province that borders the United States to the south, Saskatchewan has a wide variety of natural landscapes. The southern plains are covered with grassland and the north is a rugged region that includes the Canadian Shield plateau, forests, rivers, and lakes. While the Canadian prairies may not be best known for their food, there are plenty of local specialties and fine ingredients to be found in Saskatchewan. It may be a largely agricultural province, but much of that land is farmed for grains, legumes, and oilseeds. In fact, most of Canada's production of grains such as wheat, oats, flaxseed, and barley come from Saskatchewan and the surrounding provinces.  Saskatchewan seasonal fruits and vegetables have their own specific growing seasons and can often be found at Saskatchewan farmers markets across the province.​

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    Bison

    Plains Bison, B. bison, bull, Grasslands National Park, Saskatchewan, Canada
    John E Marriott/All Canada Photos/Getty Images

    Bison, also known as buffalo, once roamed the wide-open prairies of this province. There are some local ranchers and farmers that are bringing them back, for both culinary and environmental reasons. Bison meat is growing in popularity, and for good reason. It is leaner than beef, with less saturated fat and cholesterol and contains more beneficial fatty acids than beef. Bison meat can be prepared in as many styles as beef. From an environmental perspective, the roaming bison herds can loosen the soil and aerate the grassland, making the prairie's soil better at absorbing the rain. 

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    Saskatoon Berries

    Wild Saskatoons
    Brian Kennedy/Moment/Getty Images

    Saskatoon berries look a lot like large blueberries, in both shape and in their purple-to-blue color. They ripen in mid- to late-summer in Saskatchewan and can be used in a wide variety of cooking techniques and recipes, including pies, jams, wines, and dried berries. The First Nation people of the prairies traditionally used these tart and flavorful berries as a way of preserving and adding flavor to the dried bison meat.

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    Chokecherries

    Chokecherries
    Chokecherries. Photo © Molly Watson

    Chokecherries were traditionally harvested and dried by First Nation people. These nutritious berries, with protein-rich seeds, were an important part of the traditional prairie diet. Some companies are returning to the dried berry tradition and are using them to make fruit leathers. European settlers turned chokecherries into jams, jellies, wines, and syrups. Like all wild berries, the flavor varies plant-to-plant. Chokecherries can be famously astringent, but they also can be sweet enough to eat right off the plant.

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    Wild Blueberries

    Blueberries. Photo © Molly Watson

    Like much of the great white north, wild blueberries are a fabulous local treat in parts of Saskatchewan. Cultivated blueberries are also grown on many farms in the province too. Wild blueberries tend to be smaller and have more concentrated flower-like flavor, while cultivated blueberries are bigger and juicier. They can be used interchangeably in a variety of cooking methods including jams, jellies, syrups, and pies. 

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  • 05 of 06

    Waterfowl

    Waterfowl are native birds to Saskatchewan.  Snow geese, Canada geese, speckle-bellied geese, and ducks can all be found in this region. The large grain fields, especially pea and barley, attract these birds and serve as feeding grounds for the fowl. Native waterfowl can be found at many local restaurants and prepared in the same way as other poultry. 

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    Fish

    Saskatchewan is the home to 100,000 lakes and rivers. Some consider it the best freshwater fishing destination in the world. Northern pike, walleye, lake trout, Arctic grayling, and more are native to the region and are found in the local lakes and rivers.