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Treasured Red Columnar Apple

An exciting "New" hardy columnar apple tree - an introduction from the University of Saskatchewan! Super compact with maximum yield! Instead of developing horizontal branches as standard apple trees do, these trees form fruit on short spurs that develop along the main trunk. Tree width is only 1 to 1.2 m (3 to 4 ft)! Mature height is 4 m (15 ft).

The fruit is bright cherry red, large, and smooth with a nice waxy bloom. Fruit ripens in Mid-September with an excellent texture and flavor similar to a McIntosh apple, and stores well!

They fit easily into the smallest gardens; you can plant several along a fence or deck. Plant Breeders Rights applied for. 2018 saw us plant trials for the University of Saskatchewan.

Treasured Red Columnar Apples

Treasured Red

Treasured Gold Apple

This is the next columnar apple from the university that will be coming to the market.  Soon for sale.  Hopefully spring 2022.

Treasured Gold

Alberta Buff Apple

Many assorted apples

Prairie Sensation Apple

Released by: Rick Sawatzky, the University of Saskatchewan in 2008. The fruit is large, between 7.3 and 8.6 cms in diameter (average of 10 fruit is 7.63 cms or 3 inches) and roundish to slightly oblate in shape. The flesh color is white, and the texture is fine, firm, tender (breaking), crisp and juicy. The core size is medium to small and sets as singles or pairs and requires little thinning.

The tree is slightly leggy with an open crown but sets up a moderate number of short spurs. It is not a tip-bearer. It is hardy and continues crop after crop in spite of some tough years. Prairie Sensation has been fully hardy. The fruit stores well, consistently receiving good sensory evaluation scores in January and February.

Some apple experts in Alberta rate this as the best apple for our area; I know we sure think it is exceptional.

Prairie Sensation

Bernie Nicholai, the Edmonton area Pear expert: Brand new Russian pears are proving hardy in the Edmonton rural area. These are generally F4 crosses that have taken decades to produce. The Canadian hardy pears are all F1 crosses with Siberian pear, which generally only produces a very tart, almost inedible fruit. The Russians have found you need at least an F3 cross to get the size, quality, and hardiness, but this takes decades of breeding, and nobody in North America had the time or interest to attempt this.” There are more pears coming from this program. Keep posted!


Delicious Pears

At long last, we are getting varieties that produce good fruit. Pear trees are 15 to 20 feet tall and are covered in fragrant white blooms, making them a beautiful ornamental (please note that cross-pollination is required for these trees.) 

Check our estore for varieties.  

Krazulya Pear


Evans Edible Mountain Ash

Discovered in Calgary by Dr. Evans. This is a very columnar tree with dark green foliage about 15-20 feet tall. Heavy producing, large orange clusters of fruit have a sharp, sweet flavor. This mountain ash makes excellent jams and jellies. Normal mountain ash is bitter and bad tasting. Fruit appears on 3 or 4-year-old wood. Zone 2.


Plums Grown to Perfection

We carry both Asian (Prunus salicina) and Canadian (Prunus nigra) plums, as well as hybrid crosses between the two. The key to plum production is pollination, and DNA Gardens has perfected the process. Learn more about the plums that we carry below.

 Plum Type Hardiness Zone: Plum Fruit Usage Season of Fruit
H - Hybrid Z0: Below -50°C E - Eating Early
A - Asiatic Z1: -50°C to -45°C C - Cooking & Canning Mid
NA - North American Z2: -45°C to -40°C J - Jam Late
n/a Z3: -40°C to -35°C n/a n/a
n/a Z4: -35°C to -29°C n/a n/a
n/a Z5: -29°C to -23°C n/a n/a

More About Our Fabulous Plums

We graft a lot!  Some trees we bring in.  Grafting allows us the ability to carry the newest and greatest types of fruit. We may not carry everything, but we do carry quality.  All of our plums are dead rock hardy; however, the pollination can be a bit tricky.   The following plants are available on our tree lot:

Fofonoff Plum (Asiatic Plum, Early-Mid Season)
Sometimes called Homesteader, the skin of this plum is lime green with a red overlay. It is firm, juicy, and very sweet. The Fofonoff plum tree is a must for cold climates as it is hardy to Zone 2 and produces a wonderful sweet plum. The original Fofonoff plum tree was selected by Wasal Fofonoff in Buchanan, Saskatchewan, in 1973.

Patterson Pride Plum (Hybrid Plum, Late Season)
An incredible plum for prairies, this fruit has a brilliant red skin with a bright, golden flesh. The tree is of excellent quality and is a heavy producer with a unique weeping form. This is a hybrid plum and requires a wild plum to have fruit. Its fruit is large — 4.5 centimeters and slightly flattened. It matures late in mid-September (the latest to ripen of the plums), is sweet and juicy, and excellent for eating fresh. It is also very good for freezing and making jam, good for jelly and canning, fair for pie. It's hardy to Zone 2. This tree was developed at the University of Saskatchewan and was released in 1960.

Brookgold Plum — Prunus salicina 'Brookgold' (Asiatic Plum, Early Season)
2.5 to 3 centimeters around, this fruit matures first of the plums in mid-August and has yellow flesh. It is juicy and very sweet and is a free-stone with bright gold skin that has an orange blush. Those that taste it want more, as it is excellent for fresh eating. It is, however, poor for canning and jam. Plant them with other Asian plums, such as Ivanovka or Fofonoff. They are hardy to zone 2A and were introduced by Alberta Horticulture Research Centre, Brooks, Alberta, in 1979. This is a great early plum for fresh eating.

Ivanovka Plum — Prunus salicina (Asiatic Plum, Early Season)
With a thin, yellow skin overlaid with red, this semi-freestone plum has orange or pink flesh and is firm, juicy, sweet, and aromatic. It's excellent for fresh eating and very good for canning, jams, and pies. Plant them with other Asian plums such as Brookgold or Fofonoff for pollination. These plants are hardy to zone 2A. They were introduced by Agriculture Canada out of Morden, Manitoba, in 1939; and are one of the standards by which large, hardy plums are measured.

Lee Red Plum (Hybrid Plum, Early Season)
One of the best red early red plums around for our climate, according to Dr. Evans, they were developed by Mr. Lloyd Lee of Barr Head Alberta.

Plums On a Tree

Pembina Plum — Prunus nigra x P. salicina 'Pembina' (Hybrid Plum)
Among the best of the large dessert plums, this fruit is about 5 centimeters (2 inches) features dark-red, thick, sour, and astringent skin, and its flesh is orange-gold and is soft, juicy, and sweet. It's very good for fresh eating and fair for jam. It matures in late August and early September. Hearty to zone 2, its tree is upright, spreading, and vase-shaped; and has been one of the prairie standards since the late 1920s.

Pure Wild Plum
These showy plants have yellow or red fruit. They can be very hard to find as they are considered "critical" trees. This is because the plums have been pollinated by other wild plums, not by hybrid plums, making them the best pollinators for hybrids. Perhaps get a neighbor to plant complementary plants as bees know no boundaries.

Tip: Pin their branches close to the ground so both early-blooming and late-blooming hybrids will be pollinated. If space is a consideration, try planting them about 2 feet apart, pining to prevent over-crowding.

Brookgold Plum With a Bit of Hail

Brookgold Plum With a Bit of Hail

Black Currant Plants for Commercial Growers & Market Gardeners

DNA Gardens sells rooted plants of black currant on a contract basis. We require a year to strike cuttings, grow, overwinter, and ship rooted plugs for the following spring. Call us for a quote and to discuss timelines.

  • Ben Alder
  • Ben Sarek
  • Ben Connan
  • Ben Tirran
  • Ben Hope
  • Ben Nevis

Ben Nevis Black Currant

Known for heavy, commercial production, Ben Nevis is a sister seedling of Ben Lomond, with large, firm berries by mid-season. It has good frost tolerance and has fruited well in the Edmonton region with no signs of over-wintering problems. This currant variety comes from the Scottish Crop Research Institute (SCRI) and is made to resist rust, grow vigorously, and yield great production.

Ben Hope Black Currant (New)

This is a popular commercial black currant in England that is known for its winter hardiness. Its upright growth is rapid, and the plant can become quite tall for an ideal harvest. The majority of the fruiting plant is within the "strike zone," making the fruit more likely to be harvested mechanically.

Ben Alder Black Currant

This is another Scottish currant with high yields of medium-to-small berries, which we harvest by machine. These berries produce a juice with high color stability, making it a top choice for juice extraction. They also flower late, escaping Spring frosts, while remaining more resistant to mildew than Ben Lomond currants. Ben Alders are susceptible to White Pine Blister Rust (WPBR), but this rarely affects production, as the rust is usually only bothersome late in the season.

Ben Sarek Black Currant

This is a mid-season cultivar that produces large, firm berries. It is very productive and displays a compact, semi-dwarf growth habit. It grows about one meter tall and is ideal for PYO farms and home gardens. Ben Sarek also fruits ahead of Ben Lomond and is resistant to mildew and WPBR.

Ben Connan Black Currant

Ben Connan is a new black currant variety bred by the Scottish Crop Research Institute and is a cross between a Ben Sarek and Ben Lomond. Its large, dark blackberries have a high yield and a compact growth habit, suitable for mechanical fruit harvesting. In the UK, Ben Connan crops are harvested approximately four or five days earlier than Ben Lomond and boast a more uniformed, even ripening. It was also the highest yielding variety in the UK National Trials. Though not ideally suited for juice production, it is excellent for canning, jams, preserves, conserves, and consuming fresh. Let them ripen though — North American palettes require this fruit to be very ripe. Dare to compare:

 Measurement Ben Connan Ben Lomond
Berries per 250g 187 206
Ascorbic Acid Content per 100g 130 mg 119 mg
Pounds per Acre 16,684 14,810

Come to the farm and sample the fruit!  Most fruit trees we list here are fruiting well somewhere on our farm. We  graft and grow a lot of our own trees, and it allows us to offer items not necessarily sold elsewhere. Unique! That is the word!

Our Cherry Orchard

Evans Cherry — Prunus cerasus
Dr. Evans discovered this incredible cherry and knocked himself out, sharing it with the world! DNA Gardens helped the process, and the cherry has been selling non-stop since 1995. We were the hub for nursery sales, and when folks witness a tree laden with fruit, it becomes a must-have. First overlooked for years, these cherries have been growing since 1923 in the Edmonton area. These cherries are extremely hardy and withstand -45 degrees Celsius regularly. In unofficial comparisons in Edmonton, Evans out-produces Meteor, Northstar, and other contenders by 5 or 10 to 1 margin. Mature height of 12 to 14 ft. The fruit is a bright red cherry with translucent flesh. Ripe in late July when it pulls easily from the stem, fruit can be left on the tree well into September. In fact, the flavor mellows and sweetens with time. The flavor is bold - a mixture of sweet tartness. Healthy Too! Per 1/2 cup: 25% of daily Vitamin A requirement. (Six times more than sweet cherries) and only 39 calories. Excellent for eating fresh, good for canning and pies are great. Because it is self-pollinating, you only require one plant to set fruit. Yields of 50 pounds per tree are easily attained!! It produces in 4th year. This plant is hardy to zone 2A, not 2B - zone 3 preferred. Plant in rows 18 feet apart with 8 feet between plants in the row. Kirsch liquor is made from sour cherries. The strong cherry flavor stands up well to processing, and these cherries are often used for pie filling, jams, and jellies.

Rose Cherry — Prunus cerasus
The Rose cherry is an early maturing shrub, loaded with dark-skinned, tart cherries. It will be a small tree in more protected locations. It fruits as early as 2-3 years. Large fruit - 5-7 grams. Great for bonsai. Dark brown skin with red flesh. (Evans has yellow flesh) The rose can be grown as a tree or a shrub. It produces fruit consistently at DNA Gardens in central Alberta. This cherry is also known as Lutowka, and it was originally imported into Alberta by Kris Pruski from Warsaw, Poland, in 1988.

SK Carmine Jewel
Favorite of DNA Gardens! We think of this plant as a little princess - well behaved and beautiful.  Combinations of P. cerasus and P. fruiticosa (Sour cherry and Mongolian cherry) Introduction from the Department of Horticulture Science, University of Saskatchewan. Skin and flesh is dark red. The fruit is about 4 gm with a small round, hard pit. (desirable when using cherry pitting machines or pressing fruit for juice). High flesh to pit ratio. Superior cold hardiness! Self-fruitful, in other words, cross-pollination is not required.

The fruit is exceptional for pies, cooking, juice, wine, or flavoring for ice cream or yogurt. Many like to eat the cherries fresh, especially towards the end of the season when the tartness mellows! SK is juicier than sweet cherries and has similar sugar levels, but additional citric acid makes them tarter. Near the end of the season, fruit can be collected quickly by shaking tree limbs and using a tarp. The season runs from mid-July till the first or second week in August. It has great potential for landscaping in small yards.  With glossy leaves and crisp white blooms - train to either a shrub or small tree. Plant a flowering and fruiting hedge.  Plant height is 6 to 8 ft (2 m) and has a very low tendency to sucker. 

SK Carmine Jewel is one of six new and exciting cherries released from the University. Carmine Jewel will always stand out for its earliness. Its value will remain because its fruit will command top dollar early in the season. As more information is coming in, it appears that Carmine Jewel will be the workhorse of a new cherry industry. It pits mechanically very well, and the fruit makes an incredible pie, and the juice has a very good flavor. This is a winner that is not going to disappear!

Romance SeriesThe New Romance Series!

University of Saskatchewan Cherries — Prunus cerasus SK Tart Cherries
At long last, what we all have been waiting for - prairie cherries! Zone 2, hardy.

The University of Saskatchewan has released their incredible cherries, the result of breeding work since 1940. These cherries have been tested extensively for the last ten years in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. They are grown without irrigation after establishment, in heavy clay soil with a pH of 8.

The U of S cherries are bush fruit with dwarf stature - a mature height of about 8 feet tall, unlike eastern tart cherries that are 15-25 feet tall. The shrub-like habit makes it suitable for over the row harvesters, the kind used for saskatoons. All of these selections are suitable for high-density plantings, which would be a strong competitive advantage.

Another very significant advantage of producing sour cherries on the prairies is the reduced incidence of pest problems. Growers in Ontario or Michigan require from eight to sixteen or more spray applications to control a variety of diseases and insect pests. Experience at the University of Saskatchewan suggests that no more than one of two applications would be needed to control cherry fruit flies and leafrollers. These cherries are good candidates for organic production.

The five varieties plus SK Carmine Jewel, offer 6 to 8 weeks fresh fruit consumption because of early and late varieties. Fruit holds well on the bush – doesn’t drop. It will wait while getting sweeter and sweeter. When very ripe, just give the branches about five shakes to remove all the fruit. Harvest a tree in just a few minutes. If the fruit is holding on, try again in a few days. High yielding! Mature trees produce from 10 to 15 kilos of fruit per bush. Size of quarters! Dark red fruit is high in sugar. As much or more sugar than Bing cherries! Plants are self-fertile, and one can expect the first harvest within three years of planting.

If you are a commercial grower, give yourself a marketing edge by being the first in your area to grow cherries!

Crimson Passion
This is an exciting one!  Excellent fresh eating cherry.  No suckers!  Fruit size is large at 5.8 grams per fruit.  Highest sugar content – up to 22 Brix.

Most years, this is the largest of all the cherries weighing in at 6 to 7 grams! Good flavor for fresh eating with a hint of astringency. Blooms 1 week later than the other cherries.

A fresh eating type. The University affectionately calls it "Sweetie." Large fruit at 4.5 grams with Brix up to 20. Few suckers.

This is a dark red/black cherry similar to Carmine Jewel's appearance but ripens later. Very flavorful. Good for fresh eating and processing. This productive cherry is one of the best for juice.

This is the most productive of the selections. It is looking very strong with a much heavier flower bud load compared to the other cherries. It fruits heavier and fruits at a younger age. Slight suckering. The fruit size is about 4.5 grams.

Nutritionally Speaking, Berry Smart Says:

"Tart is Smart!" Tart Cherries are a rich source of antioxidants that may help relieve the pain of arthritis, gout, and possibly fibromyalgia. Antioxidants can also help fight cancer and heart disease. For more info, visit Check out the health benefit.
Berry Smart

Our Saskatoon Orchard  

We have over 19 different varieties of saskatoons in our test orchard!  DNA Gardens has fancy, large-fruited saskatoons that are so desirable. We plant the best-being tissue culture where a Martin is a Martin, Honeywood is a Honeywood, and a Theissen is a Theissen. You get the idea. The best picking!

Good fruit size at 16 mm with full and tangy flavor. Flowers 4 - 8 days later than most other varieties and also ripens later. We like the vase shape habit of growth and the low suckering. Very productive and consistent yielding. The bush size of 8 ft keeps it in harvesting height. (25 cent royalty)

Larger fruit than Smoky but smaller than Martin and Honeywood. Good flavor. Shorter shrub than the other three toons listed here.

Lee #3
This variety was selected by the late Mr. Lloyd Lee. On our farm, we really like it. It ripens ahead of the other saskatoons, and it extends our season. 5 to 6 feet tall, with excellent flavor. The fruit is the same size as Northline. A real winner.

Lee #8
Again, a variety that few grow. This is one of Mr. Lloyd Lee's. The parentage, Northline mother, crossed with a Theissen father, created a high-quality saskatoon that yields well, has good fruit size, and excellent flavor. This one is similar to Northline, but it ripens more evenly. About 6 to 7 feet tall, but this always depends on the amount of moisture.

This is a selection of Theissen made by D. Martin of Martin Nursery in Langham, Saskatchewan. The average berry size is larger than Theissen, and it ripens more evenly. This is a great berry for U-PIK. People are drawn to this berry because of the great fruit size.

This is the Saskatoon everybody knows. The fruit is large, round, and sweet. Smoky has the highest sugar/acid ratio of today's varieties. Habit is upright and spreading and suckers freely. An oldy but a goody, it just keeps on producing and producing. Berry size is 14 mm with a shrub size of 8 ft.

Our Chokecherry Orchard

Garrington Chokecherry — Prunus virginana
Fruit size is large - good for processing. (8-10 mm) The bush matures to a height of 8 ft and fits inside a mechanical harvester. Garrington performs well in processing tests of Dr. Janet Panford. A delightful syrup can be made!  Check out our farm store and our winery!  

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Boreal Beast

The newest latest breaking honeyberries from the University of Saskatchewan! Tear the old ones out, folks. Breeding work is like that. The best is often the last out of the program.

Boreal Beast

Boreal Beauty

Beauty and the Beast are a pair. They pollinate one another. The newest latest breaking honeyberries from the University of Saskatchewan! Tear the old ones out, folks. Breeding work is like that. The best is often the last out of the program.

Boreal Beauty Plant Boreal Beauty Fruit

Health Benefits

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  • Health Benefits of Fruit
  • What is Kefir, How to Make, and Its Benefits?
  • What is Kombucha and Its Benefits?
  • What are Fermented Vegetables and Their Benefits?
  • Testimonials
  • Trilogy of Good Health

Cherries 101

Eat 100 cherries/day and reap these health benefits

Arthritis & Gout...POW!

Studies have found that cherry juice reduces uric acid levels, fighting inflammation, as much as some pain medications!

Blood Pressure...BAM!

This just out! 2015 study shows drinking cherry juice may have a positive effect on your blood pressure.


Attention athletes! Run of Red! Recover faster, reduce muscle pain with less muscle damage. Include cherries in your post-workout recovery drink!

50+ -Scientific studies link cherries to an array of health benefits.

- Cherry Marketing Institute

In 2013, the University of Saskatchewan found our cherries contained extremely high levels of anti-oxidants; anthocyanins, phenolics, and flavonoids.

Sleep...Zzz Zzz Zzz

Researchers believe the combination of anthocyanins and melatonin gets you a better night's rest. Who doesn't want that?

Healthy Heart...Boom!

The anthocyanins in cherries reduce your risk of heart disease and may reduce cholesterol triglycerides and inflammation. All hail the cherry bomb!


Saskatoons - a New Super Fruit

Saskatoon berries can be considered as one kind of ‘Superfruit.’ The word ‘Superfruit’ refers to fruit that contains high sources of antioxidants. From a nutraceutical perspective, antioxidant-rich fruits have anti-cancer, anti-aging, and anti-heart problem effects on the human body. The benefits of antioxidant have contributed against cardiovascular and inflammatory diseases, and act as a protective guard to our immune systems.

The ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) value is one of the methods used to measure the total antioxidant activity in fruit. In the tables below, the ORAC values show Saskatoon berries are naturally high in antioxidants and rank highest in both fresh fruits and in fruit pulp relative to other common fruits.

Whole Fresh Fruit - ORAC

Fruit Pulp - ORAC

Research evidence shows that antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables may help reduce the risk of cancers. Studies also showed that there is a potential anticarcinogenic activity of anthocyanins in fruits and fruit products, and anthocyanins may possess multifaceted actions, including antioxidation and anti-carcinogenesis and may have inhibitory effects on colon carcinogenesis.

Anthocyanins Show Potent Anti-Obesity Potential

Anthocyanins, antioxidant pigments from fruit and vegetables, have a "significant potency" against fat cells and could be used for the prevention of weight gain, suggests a new study from Japan. 4

Read more information on the nutraceutical and nutritional benefits of this unique fruit, Nutrition & Health.

¹ Ozga, J. A., Saeed, A. and Reinecke, D. M. (2006). Anthocyanins and nutrient components of saskatoon fruits (Amelanchier alnifolia Nutt.). Can. J. Plant Sci. 86: 193-197.

² U. Nothlings, S.P. Murphy, L.R. Wilkens, B.E. Henderson, and L.N. Kolonel. Flavonols and Pancreatic Cancer Risk-The Multiethnic Cohort Study. American Journal of Epidemiology; V 166,8: 924-931. ³ C. Hu, B.H.L. Kwok, D.D Kitts. (2005). Saskatoon berries (Amelanchier alnifolia Nutt.) scavenge free radicals and inhibit intracellular oxidation. Food Research international 38: 1079-1085. 4Source: Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry Volume 56, Number 3, Pages 642-646.

Nutraceutical Properties of Cherries

'Listen to Rick Sawatsky's research technician U. of S. and see what all the excitement is about!'

Quote "Researchers in Michigan have found that tart cherries, one of the parental species of dwarf cherries, contain compounds with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Cherries have been linked to beneficial health effects in that cherry growers, who eat six times the amount of cherries as the average American, have a lower incidence of cancer and heart conditions. The most active antioxidant compounds in the cherry fruit are superior to vitamins E and C and some synthetic antioxidants. The same researchers have speculated that the natural antioxidants in cherry fruit could be extracted for use in food processing. It is interesting to note that these superior antioxidants in tart cherries are anthocyanins that are associated with the bright red color. Our dwarf cherries have a more intense red color than Montmorency, the most commonly grown tart cherry in Michigan. Our dwarf cherry fruit has not been tested for antioxidant concentration, but it is reasonable to expect high levels.

These scientists also found that compounds from tart cherry fruit, have anti-inflammatory properties which support anecdotal information that tart cherries may relieve the pain of gout and arthritis. A family member reports relief from gout after eating our dwarf cherry fruit.

A food scientist in Michigan reports that adding tart cherry fruit to ground meat resulted in a 50% greater reduction in the formation of mutagenic compounds during cooking. This was compared to ground meat to which other antioxidant compounds had been added. Dr. Alden Booren, professor of Food Science and Human Nutrition at Michigan State University, says, "We found that tart cherries reduced the formation of mutagenic compounds by 90% - a 50% greater reduction than with the other compounds. They are the most significant source that we have found to prevent mutagen formation in ground beef. Our trained taste testers found the cherry-beef mixtures to be very desirable and had equal to or better flavor than those from lean ground beef. We also found that reheated ground beef with cherries was essentially devoid of oxidized or rancid flavors." He and other scientists believe that the antioxidant properties of tart cherries are responsible for these effects. For complete information, see the Cherry Marketing Institute" end of quote.

So what is a Nutraceutical, you ask? A nutraceutical is a food or food component considered to provide medical or health benefits. These foods assist in the prevention or treatment of disease. This is a new area of study, but scientists are now just proving that mom was right. She always said to eat your fruits and vegetables. Live long and healthy - Eat your berries!

Anthocyanin (flavonoids) Briefly Explained

Excerpt from: Willy Kalt, Agriculture, and Agri-Food Canada
Atlantic Food and Horticulture Research Centre

"An important group of health-promoting phytochemicals is the flavonoids. These compounds are particularly abundant in fruits, but also occur in vegetables. One notable group of flavonoids is the anthocyanins. The anthocyanins are pigments - they impart the red, blue, purple color to the peel of fruits such as Saskatoon berries, blueberries, strawberries, cranberries, etc. A good indicator of the anthocyanin content of fruit is the color intensity of its juice. For example, a blueberry juice would be much more deeply colored than say a strawberry juice, due to its higher anthocyanin content.

One important property of the flavonoids is that they are antioxidants. This means that antioxidant compounds like flavonoids may provide some protection to humans against the deleterious effect of oxidative stress. Oxidative stress has been strongly implicated in the development of a cardiovascular disease, many types and cancers, and certain neurodegenerative diseases."

Flavonoids have other health benefits. For example, flavonoids have a “blood-thinning” effect; they inhibit the aggregation of blood platelets which otherwise contributes to the formation of blood clots and the deposition of atherosclerotic deposits in blood vessels. As antioxidants, flavonoids inhibit the oxidation of LDL (low-density lipoprotein), and together these effects contribute to the general protective properties of these compounds.

The “French Paradox,” which is the unexpectedly low incidence of cardiovascular disease in high-risk groups (smokers with high-fat diets), has been explained by the high consumption of flavonoid-rich red wines in these populations.

Saskatoon Nutrients The Journal of Food Science – Volume 47 1982 Dr. G. Mazza

Saskatoons appear to be an excellent source of manganese, magnesium, iron, calcium, potassium, copper, and carotene. A 100 gm serving of fresh saskatoons will supply 88 mg. of calcium or 11 % of the Recommended Dietary Allowance.

Saskatoons can be considered a better source of calcium than red meats, vegetables, and cereals.

Saskatoons supply 33.8 % of the Recommended Dietary Allowance of manganese and 7% of the Recommended Dietary Allowance of copper.

Recent research indicates saskatoons have very high components of phenolics, flavonols, and anthocyanins.

Saskatoons are high in sugar, rich in Vitamin C, and also contain more than three times as much iron and copper in the same weight as raisins.

Excerpts  are taken from Linda Kershaw, Botanist, Lone Pine Publishing
Historically, native people used saskatoons for many things. The berries treated stomachache, liver trouble, sore eyes, and the pains and bleeding of childbirth. Dysentery, painful menstruation, and bleeding during pregnancy were treated with the inner bark or roots. The settlers adopted the Saskatoon as a medicine too. Diarrhea was treated with crushed green berries, and ripe berry juice was said to act as a mild laxative and to relieve an upset stomach. The inner bark was made into a brew for eyewash, which treated blurred vision from sun, dust, or snow blindness. If a pregnant woman was injured, saskatoon root tea was immediately administered.

Black Currants Excerpts from Pal Tamas, Leading Researcher and Plant Breeder of Sweden
“Black currants can rightfully be called the “King of the Berries” due to the intrinsic biological and nutrition-physiological values of its fruits…it contains several-fold higher concentrations of potassium, iron, vitamin C, organic acids, and biologically active plant phenolic compounds than other fruits. In this respect, the blackcurrants constitute a distinct group among the fruits. These compounds exert a synergistic effect on the human organism.

The different plant phenolic compounds, the so-called bioflavonoids, display a large diversity of biological functions in the human organism. The most important of these biological activities is the so-called vitamin P activity that has a vasodilatory effect and also affects the flexibility of the capillaries. Research has established the preventive and therapeutic effects of the biologically active compounds of black currants. Furthermore, they were also shown to stimulate digestive processes. It was determined that the blackcurrant has anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidative, and weak antibacterial effects, as well as protective effects on harmful radiation.

The biological effects of some of the biologically active compounds of black currants surpass known chemical compounds with similar effects. As a consequence, medicines and raw materials for medicines based on blackcurrant extracts have been put on the market. Clinical studies performed in Bulgaria, under the supervision of Tasev (1968), have shown that it is possible to use blackcurrants as a major therapeutic agent for the treatment of distinct diseases, instead of the dosage of conventional drugs.”

Currant seed contains high levels of GLA, gamma-linolenic acid. The deep rich color of black currant is a strong antioxidant.

Nutritionally Speaking, Berry Smart Says:

Seeds of black currants are rich in both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Fresh fruit has an abundance of vitamins A, B, and C and contains between 6 and 9% sugar. They are also full of antioxidants.
Berry Smart

Quotes on Black Currant from Dr. Richard St. Pierre Native Fruit Specialist University of Saskatchewan

“Historically, black currant fruit, roots, and leaves have had many medicinal uses. Black currant fruit is very rich in vitamin C. Black currant juice, tea, and extracts have been used to treat sore throats (quinsy). Consequently, the name “squinancy berry” was adopted in Great Britain.

The leaves and buds of European black currants have been used as an anti-inflammatory drug. Various North American native tribes used the roots of the native black currant to treat many conditions, including intestinal worms, kidney problems, and uterine disorders. The fruit of one species was used as a mild laxative, while early settlers used root infusions to treat dysentery in cattle and fevers in people.

Oils extracted from leaf and flower buds of black currants have been used in cosmetic creams, lotions, and perfumes. Black currant seed is considered to be a potential source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for the treatment of asthma, premenstrual syndrome, skin conditions, and arthritis.

Black currant has exceptional nutritional value. Seeds are rich in both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Fresh fruit has an abundance of vitamins A, B, and C and contains between 6 and 9% sugar.”

Black Currants are believed to prevent Alzheimer's. Click this link to see an article about Black Currants and Alzheimers.

Blackcurrant Foundation - This is a great authority for all things related to black currants - especially health benefits.

Chokecherry (Prunus virginiana) (Excerpts from St. Pierre, 1993, Research Scientist and Director Native Fruit Development Program, University of Saskatchewan)

Here is Some History

Chokecherry was one of the most important plants used by the Plains Cree and Blackfoot. Just like saskatoons, dried chokecherries were ground with stones and used in soups, stews, and pemmican. The period during which the chokecherry was in fruit was referred to as “black-cherry-moon’. The Shuswap Indians mixed the fruit with bear grease to make colorful paint for pictographs. Canadian west coast natives ate chokecherry dried fruit with salmon or salmon eggs. The bark was boiled along with other ingredients to produce a remedy for diarrhea. A strong, black, astringent tea was made from boiled twigs and used to relieve fevers. Dried roots were chewed and placed on wounds to stop bleeding. Teas were made from the bark or roots and used to treat coughing, malaria, stomachaches, tuberculosis, and intestinal worms. Such teas were also used as sedatives and appetite stimulants. The fruit was used to treat canker sores, ulcers, and abscesses.

The wood of the chokecherry was used for tipi construction, bows and arrows, skewers, diggings sticks, pipe stems, and fire tongs. Navajo Indians thought of the chokecherry as a sacred plant, and used its wood to make prayer sticks.

The chokecherry was also utilized by European settlers in North America. Parts of the chokecherry were the basis of popular home medications. Teas made from the bark have long been used as a sedative and to alleviate coughs. Extracts of the berries and bark have been used as a flavoring agent for cough and cold preparations. Wild cherry bark was an officially recognized pharmaceutical from 1800 – 1975.

Nutritionally Speaking, Berry Smart Says:

A Ribes (Currant) renaissance is underway in North America! Black currants, highly toted for nutraceutical properties, have vitamin C content four times higher than citrus, potassium two to three times more than most fruit and 30 - 40 types of bioflavonoids, much more than most fruits. Consumption of Black currant nectar has shown to benefit the heart and circulatory system, kidney function, liver function, and the digestive system.
Berry Smart Drinking

Black Currants May Help Thwart Alzheimer's

MONDAY, Jan. 23 (HealthDay News) — Compounds in black currants may help protect against Alzheimer's disease, according to a study in the current issue of Chemistry & Industry magazine.

Researchers found that these compounds — anthocyanins and polyphenolics — had a strong protective effect in cultured neuronal cells. Darker black currants contain more anthocyanins and are likely to be more potent.

"These compounds also work in hippocampal cells taken straight from the brain," researcher James Joseph of Tufts University said in a prepared statement. He said these protective effects would likely be reproduced in the human body and that these compounds may prevent or significantly delay the onset of Alzheimer's.

While previous research found that compounds in black currants acted as antioxidants, this is the first study to demonstrate that they may help protect brain cells. Exactly how they do this remains unclear, the study said.

"We have evidence that the compounds protect against Alzheimer's by influencing the early gene expression in learning and memory, which influences cell signaling pathways that help neuronal cells communicate with each other," Joseph said.

- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., news release, Jan. 23, 2006

Berries 'Help Prevent Dementia'

British blackcurrants are said to be especially rich in anti-oxidants

Compounds in the common British blackcurrant could help prevent Alzheimer's disease, research suggests.
A study shows blackcurrants and their US cousins, boysenberries, are full of potentially beneficial anti-oxidant compounds.

Research in the Journal of Science Food and Agriculture found these compounds could block the cell damage, which leads to Alzheimer's disease.

The New Zealand team said the berries could prevent but not cure dementia.

Cancer and Aging

Alzheimer's disease is thought to be caused by the buildup of deposits of a protein in the brain.

These amyloid plaques are associated with damage to brain cells, which are eventually killed off.

It is this damage - known as oxidative stress - which the anti-oxidant compounds in the berries appear to combat.

The berries contain a cocktail of chemical compounds, including anthocyanins - which cause the deep color in blue and purple fruits - and polyphenolics - which can be found in red wine and chocolate.

Dilip Ghosh of the Horticulture and Food Research Institute of New Zealand tested the compounds on cultured human brain cancer cells.


They demonstrated in a test tube their ability to protect against the effects of oxidative stress - in this case, caused by adding the chemical hydrogen peroxide to the culture.

Oxidative stress is an important cause of brain degeneration as well as cancer and aging.

The researchers said: "The extracts of boysenberry and blackcurrant containing anthocyanins and phenolic compounds displayed significant inhibition against the oxidative challenge of hydrogen peroxide."

This can decrease the rate at which cells mutate and therefore give protection against age-related diseases, they added.

The results demonstrate that a specific fraction of blackcurrant is particularly effective.
Dr. Susanne Sorensen
Alzheimer's Society

Fellow researcher James Joseph of Tufts University said the effect was likely to be the same in humans.

He told Chemistry and Industry magazine: "I am confident that the Alzheimer's protective effect we've seen will bear out in live humans.

"Diet will never be able to cure Alzheimer's but could prevent it or at least delay its onset."

Head of research at charity Alzheimer's Society Dr. Susanne Sorensen said the study results helped to explain evidence that berries have a protective effect against a range of diseases.

She said: "The results demonstrate that a specific fraction of blackcurrant is particularly effective in this respect.

"However, the results cannot readily be transferred from this experimental system of cultures of well-characterized tumor cell lines to neurons nor to complete brains."

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