snack

Prairie Fruits

Prairie Fruits

Not everyone knows about Saskatoons and rhubarb, but chances are, if you’re from the Prairies, you will know and love them both! Here’s an excerpt from the book plus a recipe for a mouth-watering rhubarb crisp that can be made with rhubarb, berries, apples or a mix of Prairie fruits: “In times past, nearly every prairie yard had a raspberry patch and an abundance of rhubarb.  Saskatoon berries were plentiful in every ravine and river valley, but most tree fruits weren’t hardy enough to withstand the winters.  Breeding programs such as the one at the University of Saskatchewan have increased the variety of cold-hardy fruit trees and shrubs available for prairie gardeners and commercial growers. U-Pick operations in every province offer the opportunities for a family outing during the harvest season. Prairie gardners can grow a variety of hardy dwarf sour cherries and apples.  Among the apple varieties, some, such as Wealthy, were known to pioneers who prized them for both eating and cooking.  Others, like the aptly named Prairie Sun and Prairie Sensation have been developed in recent years. Strawberries and raspberries grow well on the prairies.  In addition, many Saskatoon varieties are available for backyard gardeners.  A new crop is the Haskap or honeyberry, which tastes something like a blueberry and grows on a shrub suitable in size for an urban backyard (Note that two plants are required for pollination).  Rhubarb (which is actually a vegetable) is still a favourite with with many people, being among the first crops ready for harvest in early summer and delicious baked in pies, breads and crisps. Researchers at the University of Alberta have studied the nutritional characteristics of Saskatoon berries.  The dark blue-red colour of Saskatoons is due to high amounts of anti-oxidant compounds in the skin and flesh.  According to the United States Department of Agriculture, Saskatoon berries have the most anti-oxidant activity in a list of 40 fruits and vegetables.  This activity is found in flavenoid compounds that give the Saskatoons their deep purple colour.  The types and amounts of flavinoids present have been characterized by researchers at the University of Alberta.  Saskatoons are also a good source of fibre and iron.” Coconutty Rhubarb Crisp Serves 8 – Serving Size: Approximately 1 cup (250 mL) Ingredients: 6 cups (1.5 L)  sliced rhubarb 1/2 cup (125 mL) orange or apple juice 1/2 cup (125 mL) granulated sugar 1 Tbsp (15 mL) non-hydrogenated margarine or butter 1/4 cup (60mL) brown sugar 1 tsp (5 mL) cinnamon 1/4 cup (60 mL) whole-wheat flour 1/2 cup (125 mL) oatmeal 2 Tbsp ( 30 mL) non-hydrogenated margarine or butter 1/4 cup (60 mL) unsweetened coconut 1/4 cup (60 mL) coarsely chopped pecans   Directions: 1.  Preheat oven to 350oF (180oC). 2.  Combine rhubarb, juice and granulated sugar in a glass cooking dish.  Dot with 1 Tbsp (15mL) margarine. 3.  Combine brown sugar, cinnamon, flour and oatmeal. Blend in 2 Tbsp (30 mL) margarine with fork or a pastry blender until crumbly.  Mix in coconut and nuts.  Spoon over rhubarb. 4.  Bake for 40 minutes or until fruit juice bubbles through topping.  ...

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So what about gluten?

So what about gluten?

“Gluten (from Latin gluten, “glue“) is a protein composite found in foods processed from wheat and related grain species, including barley and rye. Gluten gives elasticity to dough, helping it rise and keep its shape and often gives the final product a chewy texture”  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gluten).  “Buddhist monks discovered gluten in the 7th century. The monks, who were vegetarians, were trying to find a substitute for meat. They discovered that when they submerged dough in water, the starch washed off and all that was left was a meat-like, textured, gummy mass – gluten” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gluten). More recently, Canadian researchers have worked to increase the level of gluten in bread wheat varieties to improve baking qualities and increase protein.  Although people sometimes refer to GMO wheat, wheat breeding in Canada has been almost exclusively through natural breeding techniques and there is no GMO wheat in the Canadian food system. According to the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, “An estimated 1 in 133 Americans, or about 1% of the population, has celiac disease“.  People with Celiac Disease should avoid gluten.  Our recipe selection for this week contains gluten, but in the future we will also post recipes that are gluten-free for those of you who are gluten intolerant. This great muffin recipe is full of fabulous prairie grains, vegetable, fruit, canola, milk, and an egg… Sweet-Spiced Carrot Muffins Serves 18  Serving Size:  1 muffin Ingredients:  Canola baking spray 3/4 cup (175 mL) all-purpose flour 1/2 cup (125 mL) whole-wheat flour 1 cup (250 mL) quick cooking oats 1/2 cup (125 mL) packed brown sugar 2 tsp  (10 mL) baking powder 1 1/2 tsp (7 mL) ground cinnamon 1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt 1/2 cup (125 mL) 1% milk 1/3 cup (75 mL) canola oil 1 large egg 1 1/2 cups (375 mL) shredded carrots (about 3 medium) 1 cup (250 mL) diced apple 1/2 cup (125 mL) pecan pieces, chopped 1/3 cup (75 mL) raisins 1/3 cup (75 mL) sweetened flaked coconut Directions: Preheat oven to 350oF (180oC).  Lightly spray two non-stick 12-cup muffin pans with cooking spray. Whisk together flours, oats, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl.  Make a well in the centre of the mixture. Whisk together the milk, oil, and egg in a medium bowl; add the carrots, apple, pecans, raisins and coconut.  Stir until well blended. Stir into the flour mixture until just blended.  Do not overmix.  Spoon batter into 18 prepared muffin cups. Bake 17-18 minutes or until wooden toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Place muffin pans on wire rack and let stand 5 minutes before removing. Place muffins on a wire rack to cool completely.  Store in an airtight container.  As with most baked items that contain fruit, flavours and texture will improve overnight. This recipe was developed for PPEP by Nancy S Hughes, courtesy of the Alberta Canola Producers Commission.  For more great recipes with canola, go...

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Wondering what to do with Pumpkin?

Wondering what to do with Pumpkin?

At this time of year, there are lots of pumpkins available in stores.  Here’s an idea for a great snack made with pumpkin.  Just remember that once you cut into the pumpkin, it should be refrigerated until it’s cooked. Pecan Pumpkin Bran Muffins Ingredients: 1 cup bran cereal 250 mL 1 1/4 cups non fat buttermilk 300 mL 1 cup all purpose flour 250 mL 1/3 cup granulated sugar 75 mL 1 Tbsp baking powder 15 mL 1/2 tsp baking soda 2 mL 1/4 tsp salt 1 mL 2 tsp ground cinnamon 10 mL 2 Tbsp canola oil 30 mL 2 large egg whites 1 Tbsp vanilla extract 15 mL 1 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix) 250 mL 1/4 cup pecan pieces 60 mL 2 Tbsp granulated sugar 30 mL 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon 2 mL Instructions: 1. Preheat oven to 400 °F (200 °C). Lightly coat muffin tin with canola cooking spray and set aside. 2. In small bowl, combine bran and buttermilk, stir until moistened and let stand 5 minutes. 3. Meanwhile, in medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon; stir until well blended. 4. Add canola oil, egg whites, vanilla and pumpkin to bran mixture. Stir until well blended. Add the pumpkin mixture to the flour mixture and stir until JUST blended. Do not overmix. 5. Spoon batter into muffin tin. Sprinkle pecan pieces evenly over all. In small bowl, combine the second amounts of sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle evenly over all and bake 15 minutes or until wooden pick inserted comes out almost clean. Let stand in muffin tins on cooling rack 5 minutes before carefully removing and cooling completely on rack. To maximize freshness, store muffins covered in refrigerator or freeze. Yield: 18 muffins. – See more...

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