By this time of year, all the tree fruits grown in the Okanagan are ripe and ready to eat, can, jam, freeze, dry or otherwise preserve.
There will still be a few cherries left, some peaches, apricots, plums and nectarines, and the first apples and pears of autumn are now off the trees.
Aren’t we lucky?
Most can be eaten not only for delicious and nutritious snacks and desserts, but also for main dishes at breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner; as appetizers, salads, soups, entrees and in-between.
So enjoy them while they’re fresh and preserve them for when the bare trees are napping under the snow and a taste of summer is as welcome as spring rain.
Farmer’s markets and fruit stands are overflowing with the good flavours of late summer now, as are the produce shelves at supermarkets. Just make sure you’re purchasing fruits and vegetables that you’re sure are grown right here, not hundreds of miles away in another country—so you’re supporting local farmers and getting the best and freshest produce possible.
And, speaking of local products, there’s another new one now that we have local distillers.
I don’t drink much hard liquor anyway, but scotch has always been my drink of choice, so I’m delighted to see that Okanagan Spirits has come out with a single malt scotch made with 100 per cent B.C. malted barley, fermented and double distilled in a copper-pot still.
Another pet project of mine is restoration of the historic farm at Fintry, up Westside Road, so I’m very pleased to see they’re taken note of our history by naming it after the Laird of Fintry, who actually brought over scotch from Scotland with his own label on it, cellaring it under the floor of his study in the historic, granite manor house on the estate.
James Cameron Dun-Waters would be pleased I think.
With only 210 bottles in this first batch, it’s going to be allocated by lottery in the first week of October.
Sharon’s Apple & Bacon Salad
Surely, the presence of a few pieces of smoky bacon won’t turn a salad from a good-for-you meal to one that isn’t? Anyway the flavours are great together!
1/4 c. (60 ml) bacon lardons
4 slices cucumber
1/2 c. (125 ml) feta cheese
4 c. (1 l) fresh greens
2 tbsp. (30 ml) chopped almonds
Peppery Ranch Dressing:
1/2 c. (125 ml) plain, fat-free yogurt
2 tbsp. (30 ml) parmesan cheese
1 green onion
1 tbsp. (15 ml) fresh parsley
1 clove garlic
1 tsp. (5 ml) mayonnaise
1/2 tsp. (3 ml) freshly-ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. (2 ml) sea salt
Cut a few slices of thick bacon into quarter-inch cubes and cook until crisp. Dry and cool on paper towels.
Slice cored apples into half-inch cubes and cut thick cucumber slices into quarters. Crumble feta.
Tear a selection of your favourite sturdy greens into a serving bowl.
Add the apples, cucumber chunks, feta and bacon.
Top with chunks of almond.
To make the dressing, beat yogurt and grated parmesan cheese together in a small bowl.
Mince green onion, fresh parsley and garlic and add to the dressing, along with the mayonnaise (or lemon juice), pepper and salt.
Pour over the salad and serve.
Ginger-Peach Johnny Cake
Mom used to make Johnny Cake sometimes, then melt honey to pour over it. Of course, we loved it.
Peaches and ginger are delicious with it too. You could use fresh fruit or make it year-round using some you canned in season.
1/2 c. (125 ml) olive oil
3/4 c. (175 ml) brown sugar
1/2 c. (125 ml) buttermilk
1/2 c. (125 ml) whole wheat flour
3/4 c. (175 ml) flour
1/2 c. (125 ml) cornmeal
2 tsp. (10 ml) baking powder
1/4 tsp. (1 ml) baking soda
1 tbsp. (15 ml) grated fresh ginger
1 large whole peach, sliced
Use an oil spray on an eight-inch springform pan.
Pre-heat oven to 375 F.
Beat the oil and sugar, adding the eggs and buttermilk and continuing to beat until combined.
In another bowl, whisk the dry ingredients with the finely minced, or grated fresh ginger.
Then, combine the wet and the dry mixtures and pour the batter into the prepared pan.
Top with slices of peach.
Bake for about 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
Let it cool for a few minutes before removing the sides of the pan, and serve by cutting it into wedges.