Community Recipes Share Your Ideas!

Corn

 

Corn is ready to be harvested through summer and into autumn. It can be found at local farmer’s markets across British Columbia. Corn is delicious and healthy, and it has quite a history within our shared culture. Try buying corn now from the farmer’s market and freezing it so you can have the taste of summer corn all year round. It makes as a great side dish when combined with zucchini in a sauté.

Corn is a staple in nearly all diets across the world. It has a long history of being eaten by the Native Americans, and the first record of sweet corn comes from 1779 when the Iroquois gave the vegetable to the European settlers. Sweet corn, the type we usually eat off the cob, helps increase our bodies level of ferulic acid, which has cancer-fighting properties. Sweet corn is picked while still immature, in its milk phase, unlike other field corns that mature into the dent stage where they become dry. To tell if a piece of sweet corn is really fresh, simply pop one of the kernels. If the juices come spraying out, that is the sign of truly fresh sweet corn.

Unfortunately, once corn is picked, it has a very short window of freshness. However, corn freezes very well and you can easily freeze the corn you buy at the farmer’s market. It only takes a couple hours and, if you make enough, it will provide you with that sweet, fresh flavour of summer corn all through the winter. All you have to do is bring a pot of water to boil on the stove and put six ears of corn into the boiling water for three minutes. Fill a large stainless steel mixing bowl with water and ice (about 10 cubes). When the corn is done, move it from the boiling water to the ice water. Once the corn has cooled, cut the kernels off the cob with a sharp knife. Take the kernels and place them into freezer bags. Try to get as much air out of the bag as you can, and then put the corn into the freezer. Simple as that! Repeat these steps until you have as much corn as you want to save.

A fantastic side dish that is worth trying to make is the corn and zucchini sauté. This recipe is simple to moderate in difficulty, but worth the challenge for its unique taste and its rarity as a side dish. It is not commonly seen, but works with nearly any main course. The recipe is as follows:

 

Corn and Zucchini Sauté

2 tablespoons butter

1-tablespoon olive oil

1½ cups small-diced sweet onion

1-teaspoon kosher salt

1¼ cups small-diced zucchini

2 heaping cups of fresh corn kernels (cut off the cob)

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1-teaspoon ground cumin

1-teaspoon ground coriander

2-3 tablespoons fresh mint

¼ lemon

Freshly ground black pepper

Melt 1 tablespoon of butter with olive oil in a sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add the onions and ½ teaspoon of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Raise the heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are light golden and shrunken, another 3 to 4 minutes.

Add the remaining tablespoon of butter and the zucchini. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the zucchini is slightly shrunken and almost tender, about 3 minutes. Add the corn, garlic, and remaining ½ teaspoon of salt. Cook, stirring frequently and scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon, until the corn is tender but still slightly toothy to bite, 3 to 4 minutes. (It will begin to intensify in colour, glisten, and be somewhat shrunken in size, and the bottom of the pan may be slightly brown.) Add the cumin and coriander and cook, stirring, until very fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Remove the pan from the heat. Add the mint, a good squeeze of lemon, and a few generous grinds of pepper. Stir, let sit 2 minutes, and stir again, scraping up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Season to taste with more salt, pepper, or lemon. Serve warm.

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Corn and zucchini sauté recipe adapted from the Summer 2015 Cookfresh magazine (page 88)

Corn freezing technique adapted from the Old Farmer’s Almanac blog, “Celeste in the Garden” (http://www.almanac.com/blog/celestes-garden/garden-celeste-freezing-corn)

Additional information found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sweet_corn

Recipes Share Your Ideas!

Beets

 

Beets are a polarizing vegetable. Many love the red root, while others despise its existence. If you are in the second category, I must suggest that you reconsider. When beets are in season in British Columbia, as they are now, they can make refreshing salads and delicious side dishes. They are also extremely good for your health. Beets can grow into the winter, making them a resilient crop that will continue to be fresh while other vegetables slowly end their growing season.

Beets are a very good source of folate and manganese. Folate, also known as folic acid, helps make and repair your DNA. Folic acid also helps in aiding rapid cell division and growth, most needed during pregnancy and infancy. Folate is also necessary in producing healthy red blood cells. Manganese has a detoxifying effect on the body. It is an important element in our development and metabolism, and in our antioxidant system. With these benefits, it becomes evident that eating beets helps keep your body healthy. It is also worth noting that beet greens, located on top of the beetroot, are actually more nutritious than the beetroot itself. Beet greens are a source of fiber, potassium, iron, vitamins A and C, and various minerals.

Through the winter’s frost beets will grow. In fact, they can continue to grow in almost freezing temperatures. In World War II, one Russian city survived Nazi-occupation by eating beets, as they were the only crop that would grow during this harsh time.

To store beets, you can freeze, can, or pickle them. However, as with nearly all food, beets are best when they are fresh. What follows is Mama Friesen’s beet salad recipe. This recipe is a delicious side dish that has a beautiful presentation and can compliment nearly any meal. Try it at your next dinner party or family gathering.

Mama Friesen’s Beet Salad

Salad

5 medium-sized beets

1 package goat cheese (flavoured or not)

½ cup toasted pumpkin seeds

½ cup cherry tomatoes

¼ – ½ cup fresh dill

Greens (preferably Asian greens, arugula, spring greens,

or a combination of the three)

Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper

Dressing

½ cup balsamic crema (thick balsamic vinegar)

¼ cup olive oil

1 tablespoon fresh dill (chopped)

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

 

To roast your pumpkin seeds: Put the seeds in an 8-inch square-baking pan. Toast the seeds on bake at 325 Fahrenheit for approximately 10 minutes or until the seeds are lightly browned.

To roast your beets: Put the beets in aluminum foil as they are (skin on and everything). Drizzle some olive oil and crack some salt and pepper onto the beets. Close the foil around the beets. Roast in the oven at 350 Fahrenheit, for 30-45 minutes depending on the size of your beets. Poke with a fork to check if they are tender.

Remove the beets from the oven and let them sit until they are cool enough to handle. Then, cut the roots off and peel the beet. Slice your beets into rounds.

On a large platter, spread your greens to form a bed for your beets. Layer your sliced beets on top of the greens. Crumble the goat cheese onto the top of your beets. Then, sprinkle over your toasted pumpkin seeds. Scatter the tomatoes on top of that. Chop your fresh dill over all.

Combine all your dressing ingredients together. Whisk and pour over the salad.

 

(This recipe was adapted from White Water Cooks At Home by Shelley Adams)

Websites consulted for this article:

http://www.healthy-beets.com/beet-greens.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beetroot

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Folic_acid

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manganese

http://www.almanac.com/plant/beets

http://www.almanac.com/blog/celestes-garden/growing-beets-backyard-garden

Gardening Recipes Share Your Ideas!

IMG_0443-3IMG_0440-2 Tea

 

As an avid tea drinker, I love to grow my own herbs throughout the summer and add them to my teapot. There are so many herbs that can be used, but the ones that I like are mint, garden sage, pineapple sage, and catnip. However, you can also use lemon balm, chamomile, lavender, lemongrass, and many more.

I usually make my tea one pot at a time, and because of this I do not dry my herbs, I just pick them and put them in the pot. You can dry them if you want; they keep better. Drying can release more flavour from the herbs. However, for my tea, I usually use store-bought tea bags as a base and then add the herbs to bring a unique flavour to my drink.

I start with a mix of black tea and green tea, usually store bought bags but loose leaf also works. Then I add one good-sized sprig of mint, a few leaves of garden sage (as much as your plant will offer. I have one growing in Tsawwassen that is very small so I only use a little. I also have access to a plant in Summerland that is very large so I can use quite a bit), a sprig of pineapple sage, and a sprig of catnip. I pick all the leaves off of the stem and add the leaves to the pot with the tea bags. Then I pour in the hot water and steep for a good length, usually between five and ten minutes. After that, it is ready to serve.

This mix also makes a great iced tea. What I do to make my iced tea is first pour a cup of hot tea from the pot to free space for ice. Then I add two heaping teaspoons of honey (sugar also works) and stir it in the pot with the tea bags removed. I add the tea bags back in when the honey is dissolved. Then I fill the pot up with ice. This cools the tea enough that you could have a glass of iced tea right then, if poured into a cup also full of ice. Usually, though, I keep adding ice until either the teapot is full again or the ice no longer melts quickly. Then I put the tea into the refrigerator and let it sit overnight. This makes delicious sweetened iced tea.

Adding herbs to your tea has many benefits. Each herb will make your tea taste more unique, and they allow for a lot of creativity and variation with each new batch. Each herb also has its own soothing effects. Mint, for example has a calming effect and helps with digestion. Catnip also has a calming effect. Pineapple sage adds a natural sweetness to your tea, while garden sage adds an earthy flavour to your brew. Some herbs can have a detoxification affect when added to tea, like milk thistle and nettles. Lemon balm will add a lemon scent and slight flavour to your tea as well as having a calming effect.

Tea is a great drink no matter the season. It can be drunk either hot or cold and it is a great, natural way to relieve stress. If you are growing herbs this summer, definitely try to make your own homegrown brew. As stated, I start with a couple tea bags as a base and then add my herbs for a unique flavour.

 

Websites consulted for this article:

http://garden.org/learn/articles/view/1339/

http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/herbs/hgen/herbal-tea-plants.htm

http://www.motherearthliving.com/gardening/create-tea-time-in-your-tea-garden-best-herbs-to-grow-for-tea.aspx