Rhubarb Has Arrived

After waiting so long for spring and watching the rhubarb coming up so slowly, they are ready!  Summer is here and we are up to our elbows in Rhubarb.  This past week we received about 150 kg - we picked some and some were dropped off by homeowners.  Wow!!!  It has taken most of 2 days just to wash it, chop it, juice it and tuck it away.

So what will be coming out of the kitchen?  Firstly we made lots of Strawberry Rhubarb Jam followed by Hot Pepper Rhubarb Spread.  This will satisfy both the sweet and savoury side of the market table.  Then Spiced Rhubarb Jam and Blueberry Rhubarb Jam is next on the list, to soon be followed by Mango Orange Rhubarb Jam.  The raspberries will be coming next and we will be happy to start producing Raspberry Rhubarb Jam and Raspberry Pear Rhubarb Jam.  Wow the kitchen smells like summer.

Rhubarb Juice
Rhubarb Juice

These wonderful jars are filled with rhubarb juice.  It is so ruby red in the spring that it almost looks like it should be strawberry juice.  We use this to make Lemon Pepper and Gin condiment and Sweet Chili Tri Sauce so these sauces are soon going to be pouring out and ready for the market tables.

Finally comes the ketchup.  We had just about used up all our reserves, but rest assured, we now have lots of raw material to keep our ketchup fans well supplied.

Keep the rhubarb coming - I don't think we can have too much.  And if we do have more than we can use, we will find people who want to use it.  It will not go to waste.

Farmer's Market Chili

Farmer’s Market Chili

I decided  that I wanted to make chili, so I started soaking the kidney beans on Friday night and put the ground beef I had from Natures's Green Acres  into the fridge to thaw.   I had decided to make a chili without tomatoes this time - just to be different. 

Nest was a trip to the Downtown Farmer’s Market in City Hall today to work for a bit at our table and then do some shopping.    

I visited Doef's Greenhouseswhich always has a tantalizing array of fresh locally grown veggies and bought some of their beautiful coloured peppers.   Then since we were sampling our Hot Pepper Rhubarb Spread today I decided to take it home at the end of the day, thinking it might be a good addition.    

Ingredients:

  • Dried kidney beans     3 cups, soaked overnight in 4 times the volume in cool water
  • Onion, chopped           1 ½ cups
  • Olive oil                       2 Tbsp.
  • Ground beef                2 pounds
  • Nature’s Green Nouveau Beef
  • Garlic, chopped                      2 cloves
  • Beef bouillon               2 cubes
  • Water                          2 cups
  • Chili powder                3 Tbsp - or to taste
  • Chipotle chili powder   3 Tbsp - or to taste
  • Sea salt                                   2 teaspoons
  • Sweet peppers                        2, finely chopped
  • Hot Pepper Rhubarb   ½ cup – or to taste

Method: 

  1. After beans are soaked – when the skins are loose and wrinkled - drain off the water, rinse and drain again.  Place beans in large pot and add water to generously cover the beans.  Bring to a full boil over high heat then reduce to medium heat, simmering until beans are cooked.  Check regularly to make sure they are always covered with water and stir to make sure they don't stick to the bottom of the pot.   This should take about 30 minutes if they were well soaked the night before.
  2. Chop the onion, garlic and peppers and set aside in separate piles.
  3. In a large frying pan over medium heat, add oil, then the onions and cook, stirring until the onions are translucent.
Cooking Chili with beef and onion
Cooking Chili with beef and onion

4.  Add the ground beef and garlic and continue to cook until the beef is cooked.  (Hint – sample this beef when cooked – it is really wonderful in flavour and texture!)

5.  Add the bouillon cubes, water, chili and chipotle powders, and salt.   Continue to cook for about 10 more minutes, adding the beans when they are ready.  Cook a bit longer to meld the flavours then taste and correct seasonings.

Doef's peppers
Doef's peppers

6.  Add the peppers near the end so they retain their shape and colour.

7.  At serving time, scoop the chili into serving bowls and top with the Hot Pepper Rhubarb.  Mix it in to add a sweetness to the chili.  Serve extra chipotle chili powder or hot sauce of choice on the side.

Farmer's Market Chili with Hot Pepper Rhubarb
Farmer's Market Chili with Hot Pepper Rhubarb

Enjoy!!!!!

Triple Dividend - New Concept for Team Building \ Work Group Experiences

As you and your company plans for team and group events for the next year, would you consider doing something that pays a Triple Dividend?   Let me explain. We offer 1 day workshops for volunteer groups where you will work with us for the day.  Class description is here.   There is a fee for the day but the payoff happens for the Self,  the Environment, and Others.

  • Self:  Each person attending will learn about the abundant urban fruit that grows in the city and is not being used.  During the months of July - October, participants will assist in picking the fruit, learning how to prepare it for immediate use or save to be used later, and finally in making a jam and/or jelly.  They will learn how to blend spices and herbs to create a unique flavour combination and finally prepare product to take home with them.   It is truly a hands-on experience.
  • Environment:  By learning about the amount of fruit that grows in the city, participants will become more aware and learn options for its use rather than garbage.  Fruits of Sherbrooke practices include composting, recycling, reuse, and diversion of excess edible fruits to other charities and non-profits around the city.  Some of the fees will enable Fruits of Sherbrooke to continue to create it's programs of creating a directory, collecting and re-directing excess urban fruit that grows in this city.  In this manner, more food gets to people who are willing to use it, waste is reduced and fruit from the ground goes to animal farms.  We are also looking for new and creative options for using the over-abundance of apples and crab apples in the city.
  • Others:  A portion of the fees for the course will be applied directly to the Cherry Stone Soup Program.  Through this program the Fruits of Sherbrooke will be offering free workshops to low income groups as identified by Alberta Health (such as community kitchens), new immigrants as identified by Catholic Social Services and the Mennonite Centre for Refugees and other community resources.  This program is already being trialed.  The funds are needed to provide the participants with jars and supplies and the dream is to have enough funds to supply participants with equipment such as canning supplies or a dehydrator.  Eventually we would like to have the funds to set up a system that would connect those with excess with those who are willing to pick and use.  So the fees from the course will help Fruits of Sherbrooke to run and administer their programs that connect excess fruit to those who will use it.

Please read the course description and call us to find out how we can work together.  We are able to customize a day if you want to made a product for your office, for a fund-raiser or other purposes.   We are open to considering all queries.

Phone - 780-244-0129     Email  Fruits of Sherbrooke