Living as we do in the fruit basket of B.C., with a succession of strawberries, raspberries, cherries, apricots, plums, nectarines, peaches, apples, pears and other fruit ripening all around us from June onwards, I imagine we all have frozen, dried, jammed or canned examples still remaining in the pantry or freezer at this time of year.
And, soon the fruit cycle will begin all over again, so it’s time to begin using up what we put aside from last season’s bounty.
With that in mind, here are a couple of ways to brighten up the brunch table or provide some snacks or desserts for spring entertaining, using what we could call winter fruits: simply because they’re available to us in some form, even at this time of the year—before the fresh fruit cycle begins again.
Most of what I’ve suggested for these recipes are available locally at some point in the growing season, or, in the case of apples, long afterwards, with careful storage.
Since this is one of Canada’s apple capitals, there should never be a shortage of those crisp, juicy fruits available to use in breakfast, lunch or dinners, or for desserts or snacks.
Fruits are not only healthy alternatives to sugary, fatty snacks, with their vitamins and minerals, but they are often loaded with antioxidants and other elements we are just learning about, but which can help prevent disease in one way or another.
So, reach for a favourite fruit instead of a candy bar or even an ‘energy’ bar.
Don’t be afraid to be creative when you’re cooking and be inspired by what’s fresh and local around you, so select whatever six or so fruits you like and have available for the fruit salad.
If you have a soft spot for the SPCA, as well as for tasting local wines, you can combine the two this weekend with the second annual Charity Wine Tour put on by Distinctly Kelowna Tours, of Mission Hill, Quails Gate, Volcanic Hills, Kalala and Little Straw wineries in West Kelowna in a 24-passenger bus. Everyone will receive a gift bag, as well as a snack prepared by Delta chef Stuart Klassen. There’s even a draw for a gift basket that includes a winery tour, gift certificate for the Grand Bay Cafe and wines. It’s Sunday, 1 to 4 p.m., but you must reserve at 979-1211, or at: email@example.com
For more seasonal recipes using local B.C. fruit, pick up a copy of my book, Jude’s Kitchen, available wherever books are sold.
Elise’s Warm Winter Fruit Salad
This salad is a great opportunity to clean out the freezer of the bits at the bottom of a bag you have left over from last summer’s frozen fruit.
Toss in a few fresh fruits, still available at this time of year, and maybe a tin of something.
Spice it up, warm it and set it at the brunch table or over a little ice cream for a summery dessert.
Feel free to substitute a few seedless grapes, fresh or frozen, strawberries, banana or other fruit.
14 oz. (398 ml) tin of pineapple chunks
1 c. (250 ml) fresh or frozen cherries
2 tbsp. (30 ml) honey
1 tsp. (5 ml) allspice
pinch of ground star anise
pinch of five spice powder
juice of half a lemon
1 c. (250 ml) fresh or frozen blueberries
1 c.(250 ml) fresh or frozen raspberries
Core or pit and chop any larger fruits, drain tinned ones and combine them all, except the berries, with the honey and spices in a casserole or serving dish. Toss to mix.
Heat through in the microwave or in the conventional oven.
Mix in berries and lemon juice.
Serve over ice cream for dessert or in a pretty bowl on the brunch buffet table.
Apple/Yogurt Trail Muffins with Blueberries
The dough is fairly sticky to handle because of the yogurt, but that and the apples make these lovely and moist, with lots of whole grain goodness and flavour. These are great to take on the trail, with lots of good-for-you ingredients.
1 c. (250 ml) whole wheat flour
1 c. (250 ml) white flour
1/4 c. (60 ml) oat bran
1/4 c. (60 ml) cornmeal
1/3 c. (75 ml) brown sugar
2 tsp. (10 ml) baking powder
1 tsp. (5 ml) baking soda
1/2 tsp. (3 ml) salt
1 c. (250 ml) plain, fat-free yogurt
1/4 c. (60 ml) olive oil
1 cored, grated apple
1/2 c. (125 ml) blueberries
garnish of brown sugar, optional
Pre-heat oven to 375 F.
Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl with a whisk until well-mixed.
Beat eggs in a medium-sized bowl and whisk in the plain, fat-free yogurt until it’s well-mixed and smooth. Add the olive oil and combine well.
Core and grate one apple into the wet mixture. Add fresh or frozen blueberries into the dry mix and combine well.
Combine the wet and dry ingredients. It will be a stiff mixture, but mix as little as possible, while still mixing it well.
Divide amongst 12 greased muffin cups and sprinkle a pinch of brown sugar on top of each.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
Makes 12 muffins.