Archive for the ‘fruits and jams’ Category

Thank you Discovery Channel..

Without your often fine programming, it may never have wriggled into my consciousness.

It may never have hopped or jumped or flicked its way into my mind.

I may never have know that, pound for pound, grasshoppers provide more protein than chicken.

More protein, too, than beef. Than pork. Than duck, pheasant, venison and, presumably, also, buffalo, quail, ostrich, lamb or goat.

august23.foodpic.darcie    Certainly, I did already know, having grown up on the Canadian prairies, that grasshoppers are plentiful. They are inexhaustible. We could in fact sieve an entire plague off the land, even as it’s munching its way through a wheat or canola crop, and another yummy plague would simply grow up in its place.

And, because a grasshopper once flew into my mouth while I was trying to get to my grandmother in her devastated garden, I know, too, that grasshoppers come in handy bite-sized portions that are light-weight and easy for snacking. As they would be for shipping.

Given a change of consciousness on the part of Canadians, we could probably save our grasslands from grazing livestock, having taken to heart that grasshopper ranching is the future.

And for those lucky enough to have grasshoppers in their own yards, they can be eaten fresh from the garden, sizzled in oil as a popcorn substitute, dried for storage, or cooked up in thousands upon thousands of different, delectable ways, including dry roasted, tossed in a wok or (and this is my favourite idea, courtesy of one very odd blogger) hidden in Christmas fruitcake.

I know, I know. There’s the heebie jeebie effect that we in the West just can’t seem to overcome, no matter how much ketchup we splatter at the idea.

But! Let us consider that in much of Asia, grasshoppers are a symbol of good luck and abundance. Fancy varieties are even kept as cherished pets in intricate handmade cages, while the more ordinary sorts are enjoyed as street food, skewered on bamboo sticks.

And, since pestilences are scheduled to increase as we lunge towards a warmer world, Waste Not, Want Not is an concept we might as well adopt. Especially given that a wasted opportunity just so happens to be hopping around our feet.


Hopping and scrabbling.

Hopping, scrabbling and scratching.

And that, right there, Dear Discovery Channel, is my problem at this very moment: Roughly 0.54 grams of the ickiest creature that’s ever stood between me and my front door.

Now, with my social consciousness adjusted, do I stop and think to myself, “Oh look! An ingredient!”

Or, “There’s the garnish I was looking for?”

No, I do not.

The only thing I think is to slowly, stealthily, slip the flip flop from my foot and  SMACK!  that grasshopper into jam.

A few moments later, however, after my heart rate has knocked its way back to resting, and as I stoop to scrape crunchy-slimy, yellow-green thorax from my sole, I do feel the quickening of an idea.

Grasshopper jam.

Well, okay. Maybe I’m not quite there yet.

Peach and Grasshopper (Jalapeno) Jam

6 pounds fresh peaches (about 15)

2 fresh jalapenos, seeded and very finely diced or processed

6 cups granulated sugar

juice from 1 large lemon

1 Tbs butter

1 (1.75 oz.) package pectin

Twelve 8 ounce canning jars, lids and bands

In the bowl of a large food processor fitted with the blade attachment, puree five peaches at a time until slightly chunky. Transfer to a large pot, add jalapenos, and bring to a simmer, stirring frequently.

When simmering, stir in sugar, lemon juice and pectin until sugar is thoroughly dissolved.

Continue to let the jam simmer for another 15 minutes to thicken. Add butter (to prevent foaming). If any foam does come to the surface, skim it off with a spoon and discard.

Boil jars and lids for ten minutes to sterilize. Use a funnel and ladle to fill each jar, leaving about 1/4 inch of room at the top of each jar.

Wipe each jar and top it with a lid and band.

Place jars in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes to process, making sure the simmering water covers the jars by at least an inch.

Remove jars and let them cool completely for 24 hours. If any jars are not sealed (lid still pops down when gently pressed), reprocess.

Store sealed jars in a cool dark pantry for up to one year.

Darcie Friesen Hossack: food columnist, author

Mennonites Don’t Dance, Thistledown Press Sept. 2010

shortlisted for the Commonwealth Prize (first book, Canada and Caribbean)

Danuta Gleed Award runner-up

stories and recipes from this blog are previously published in the Okanagan Sunday, Kamloops This Week and Prairie Post


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Raspberry Rhubarb Grunt
1 pound rhubarb stalks, chopped into 1-inch pieces
3/4 cup golden brown sugar
1/2 cup water
4 cups ripe raspberries
In a wide (9-inch diameter), straight-sided skillet or pot, over medium-low heat, stew rhubarb together with water and sugar, until rhubarb is tender. Add raspberries and cook until juices run.
Meanwhile, make the dumplings:
1/3 cup milk
2 Tbs melted butter
3/4 cup flour
2 Tbs granulated sugar
3/4 tsp baking powder
1 Tbs granulated sugar
1/8 tsp cinnamon
Combine milk and butter. Combine flour, sugar and baking powder. Add dry ingredients to wet and bring together with a fork until combined. Drop by tablespoons onto simmering fruit. Combine sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over dumplings. Cover with lid, reduce heat to low, and let dumplings poach for 15 minutes. Serve warm with ice cream or drizzled cream.

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3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup milk
2 cups chopped apples (1/4-inch pieces)
2/3 cup slivered almonds
for the sauce:
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter
3/4 cup boiling water
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugars, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Add milk and bring together with a fork until combined. Fold in apples and almonds. Spread into a 1 1/2 quart casserole dish that’s been buttered on the bottom only.
In another bowl, pour boiling water over brown sugar and butter. Stir until butter is melted and mixture combined. Gently pour over pudding.
Bake pudding in a 375F oven for 40 minutes, until a tester inserted into the centre comes out clean. Serve warm, with vanilla ice cream.

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2 1/2 cups rough-chopped pineapple and trim from other fruits
1 cup water
2 tbs sugar (less or more depending on fruits’ sweetness)
1/2 tsp unsalted butter
1 tbs sugar
1/2 cup finely-diced pineapple
1/4 cup finely-diced mango
8 cape gooseberries, hulled and quartered
1/4 cup diced papaya
1/4 cup Malibu rum
juice of 1 passion fruit
Place pineapple and other fruit, together with water and sugar, in a medium pot over medium heat. Bring to a boil and cook until very soft. Puree with a blender. Strain out and discard pulp. Set aside puree.
In a large non-stick pan over high heat, toss diced pineapple together with butter and sugar. Cook until just tender. Gently stir in mango, followed by gooseberries, then papaya, about 15 seconds apart. Add rum and passion fruit juice. Add the fruit puree from above and continue cooking until heated through.
Serve as a filling for crepes or as an ice cream topping.

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1/2 cup granulated sugar
Juice from 1 large orange
1 cup rosé or fruity white wine
1 cup water
2 cups fresh wild blueberries (or frozen, thawed, with juice)
1 cup plain yogurt (such as Balkan-style, thinned with a little light cream)

In a medium pot, bring the sugar, orange juice, wine and water to a boil. Simmer for 1 minute while stirring.

Add the wild blueberries and cook for another minute.

Remove from heat and set aside to cool completely.

When cool, purée the mixture and strain through a fine sieve. Discard pulp and thoroughly chill liquid. Ladle chilled soup into bowls and swirl 1/4 cup of the yogurt into each just before serving.

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Raspberry Freezer Jam
8 cups raspberries
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 45g package pectin for freezer jam

In large bowl and using potato masher or pastry blender, crush raspberries, 1 cup at a time, to make 4 cups.

In another bowl, sift pectin into sugar and combine; add to raspberries and stir for 3 minutes.

Pour into five 1-cup airtight containers, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 weeks or freeze for up to 1 year.

Blueberry Freezer Jam

5-6 cups fresh blueberries (to make 4 cups crushed)

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1 45g package pectin for freezer jam

zest from 1/2 fresh lemon

In a large bowl, crush blueberries using a pastry blender or potato masher. Stir in sugar and let sit for 15 minutes to macerate. Stirring constantly, sift in pectin, pushing any lumps through the mesh with the back of a spoon. Continue stirring for 3 minutes. Set aside for 5 more minutes, then add lemon zest. Ladle into 5 clean 1-cup jars, leaving 1/2 inch of space at the top. Apply lids and refrigerate up to 3 weeks or freeze up to one year.

Note: For Blueberry-lavender Freezer Jam, or to add a hint of lavender to any of these jams, use lavender sugar instead of plain granulated.

Lavender Sugar
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 1/2 tbs dried lavender flowers.
Combine in an airtight container and let sit for at least two days, preferably longer. Sift out lavender before using.
Rhubarb Freezer Jam
2 1/2 pounds fresh rhubarb, washed, trimmed and chopped
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 45g pouch pectin for freezer jam
Place rhubarb in a heavy medium pot. Cover and slowly heat, bringing to a simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring frequently.
Sift pectin into sugar in a large bowl and combine. Stir in rhubarb until thoroughly combined.
Ladle jam into 5-1cup jars, leaving 1/2 inch of space at top. Apply lids and led stand until thickened, about 1/2 hour. Refrigerate up to 3 weeks, freeze up to 1 year.

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