We were interviewed by Nancy Rempel for the morning program on CBC and this was broadcast today. If you were not up at 6:30 am to hear it, I am including the link so you can listen at your leisure. http://www.cbc.ca/edmontonam/columnists/communityleague/ There is also a broadcast taped for Shaw TV so keep your eyes open for that as well.
It has been quite an adventure this past year, learning about where different fruit grows in our neighbourhood, figuring out how to harvest it effectively, finding new and interesting recipes for using it, and getting to know people in our community through their back yards and gardens. We have harvested well over 700 pounds of rhubarb now and lots of raspberries - we didn't measure them unfortunately. We made rhubarb into about 20 different recipes from Vanilla Rhubarb to Strawberry Rhubarb with Sambuca and finally chutney and steak sauce.
Then we started to sell at Callingwood Farmer's Market and began to build a clientele outside of Sherbrooke. We also developed a relationship with Walker's Own BC fruit vendors who gave us their bruised fruits at the end of the day and we moved into another brand of fruit rescue. This did offer me the joy of creating jams such as Amaretto Apricot, 3 P's in a Pot (peach, pear and plum jam) and a wonderful caramelized peach and apricot sauce. It is bit like the cream filling in an Oreo. Not really the original intent of living local but a fun little jaunt.
With the fall came local cherries, apples and crab apples and we are back on task. There have been challenges met and places for research over the winter.
Cherries. How do we pit them effectively? We have done it by hand but it is a slow and messy job. There are machines but I don't know what would work well for the quantity that we are harvesting. So I am looking for any feedback about what is cost effective but works well. Any input would be welcome. We have looked at other ways of preserving cherries and at this point are juicing them for use in jellies over the winter.
Apples. There are many types of apples growing locally and the one thing that is a fact is that the skins are tender. There is no wax on them and as they have no spray or preservatives, we have been trying to use the whole apple - seeds and all. We are making jam and pie filling with the tender skins on and it gives a nice texture. This makes it easier to prepare as well as more nutritious.
Last year we made tons of apple and fruit pies for sale. This took a lot of time and lots of freezer space. So we have created an apple pie filling that is packed with a variety of apples, a lightly sweetened sauce made with apple juice and cornstarch, lemon juice, cinnamon and nutmeg. The 1 Litre jar fills a 9-inch pie pan. You don't have to stop there! Customize it by adding a cup or so of another fresh or frozen fruit or toasted nuts and you could have Apple Raisin Walnut Pie, or Cranberry Apple Pie, or Peach Apple Pie with a crumble topping. The canned filling can stand alone as it is deliciously full of tasty apples. You can also use it to top ice cream, waffles, and cheesecake or spoon into muffin, roll into crepes or mix into hot cereal in the morning.
Apple Sauce. We have chosen to roast the apples with cinnamon bark and cloves, in a slow oven to soften them and caramelize the juices. Then we squeeze them to make a really tasty apple sauce. We add NO sugar or sweetener. This means it is good for everyone. It has a wonderful natural sweetness but you can add sugar, artificial sweetener, honey or even maple syrup to suit your own taste. One size does fit all! However as there is no sugar, there is no preservative, so this must be kept in the fridge once opened and used within a couple of weeks. When we tested our apple sauce, I was surprised to find that many people said they didn't eat applesauce. So I took the challenge and went looking for recipes. Look in the recipe section for a variety of sweet and savoury recipes that all use unsweetened applesauce. It is also used as a replacement for part of the fat in recipes so you can find a fat reduced Toll House Cookie recipe as well.
If you like applesauce - consider our Crabby Apple sauce. It keeps the bright red colour of the crab apple and is full of wonderful flavour. It has some sugar added as well as a light touch of cloves and cinnamon. It stands up to strong meats, makes a beautiful snack and can be used anywhere the other apple sauce is used. From experiments made last year - it makes a wonderful fruit leather.
Crab apples - like rhubarb have had a bad rap so we have been experimenting to create some great combinations. Tarragon Crab Apple Jelly, Taffy Apple Jelly (with Butter Ripple Schnapps), Crab Apple Jelly with Hot Peppers Crab Apple with Spiced Rum and more to come.
Come to the hall at 13008 - 122 Avenue on Monday nights or drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.