Manitoba AppleCrabs

On July 29, we had our first apple harvest thanks to Lynda and Darrell.

These delicious 4-6 cm applecrabs (cross between an apple and a crabapple) are a light green with a red blush.  They’re crispy with just the right amount of sweetness, great for eating just as they are or for any number of recipes. My kids declared that they are picture perfect apples.

Now, what to do with 200 lbs of picture perfect apples?!

Today, we’ll see which community organization would like 66 lbs of applecrabs.  And then, we’ll be busy making apple juice, apple sauce, apple butter, apple crisp, apple kuchen, apple cobbler, apple pie, apple muffins, or whatever else suits our fancy.

Evans Cherries

Yeah, cherries!

Three of us picked some Evans Cherries (sour cherries) this evening.  Two trees yielded three 4 Litre pails in about 3/4 hour of picking.  Luckily, we just finished just before the rain.
Here’s a picture of Fernando, our newest volunteer, stretching to reach those cherries.
The cherries looked beautifully red and shiny – but they were very tart, as one curious neighbour discovered when she tasted one.  The expression on her face was priceless – as was her comment “You’re gonna need a lot of sugar for those!”
As always, we split our haul three ways between the homeowner, the volunteers and a community group.  In addition to the small batch of cherries and some recipes, we added some green, yellow and burgundy beans from the garden.  
When I arrived, there was a lot of interest in the beans but very little in the cherries – they all thought they were too sour.  I trust that word will get around and someone will find something delicious to make with them.
Stay tuned for what Aleta and Fernando decided to make with their cherries.

Nanking Cherries

The Nankings are ready.  Just like a lot of plants this year, they’re about 2 or 3 weeks early.
Unfortunately, we haven’t had any come through Fruit Share.  Hopefully that means everyone has found wonderful ways to use them themselves.
We greedily harvested the ones in our own back yard and made juice, syrup and jelly with them.
If you’re wondering what to do with your nankings, here are some ideas.
To get the juice…
To get the pulp…

Of course you don’t need to separate the pulp and the juice.  Usually, I don’t, but this year I was experimenting with my new toy from Lee Valley – the jelly strainer. 
If you don’t separate the pulp from the juice, your jams, jellies and syrups will be thicker and not transparent.  Despite what the jelly judges at a country fair might say, I actually prefer having a little more texture in my spreads.
Before I even got to make any preserves, we found a lot of ways to eat our nankings:
  • raw, right off the bush

Manitoba Strawberries

Manitoba strawberries are ready for picking.  Going to a U-pick strawberry farm and making strawberry freezer jam made it on to my kids’ list of things they want to do this summer.  

The kids say you just gotta…
Pick ’em.
Admire ’em.
Clean ’em.
Squish ’em.
Mix ’em with sugar and pectin.  Then put ’em in a jar.
Enjoy all year long!