Space Invaders – A Word on Himalayan Blackberries

bb1Here in Beautiful British Columbia we get a lot of immigrants from all over the world. Sure it’s Canada, the “melting pot” and all that, but here in BC it’s especially common to run into people, products and flavours from far off places. It’s one of the things that I love the most about the West coast. Sometimes though, adding some new spice into the pot can be disruptive. A brief story to illustrate:

Once upon a time an immigrant came to the Northwestern Coast of BC.  (more…)

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Yogurt Panna Cotta with Salmonberry Compote

PannaCotta1We’re almost into our third week of June, and our Salmonberry bushes are still producing delicious edibles! But before I go out and brave the teddy bear’s picnic again, I’ve got a whole container full of berries in the fridge ready to cook with.

The rough, acidic salmonberries really pop with other foods that are creamy and mildly flavoured. The first thing I thought of was just pouring ‘em over vanilla ice cream… But as I nibbled on a couple more berries I remembered a well-worn recipe for yogurt panna cotta that might be a bit more sexy. I had paired it with candied lemon peel and green apples before… Delicate, sweet and sour. It would be easy to sub in the salmonberries with a little sugar and orange peel. Panna cotta it is!

Besides, I haven’t got an ice cream maker. (more…)

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Salmonberries

Salmonberry1Summer breeze. Green leaves part. Glowing droplets of sunlight.

I was on my way home from work a couple days ago and I’d stopped to pick some Salmonberries. As I stretched up my go-go-gadget arms towards the gently swaying gems it occurred to me that I had no idea why they were called “Salmon”-berries. Was it the reddish colour? Kind of looks like salmon flesh, I guess. Early summer Sockeye runs are starting soon and the berries are ripening… Maybe that’s it. I wonder if they taste good with grilled salmon?

Then I noticed some of the berries had been really clumsily torn from their pedicels, or roughly smashed and left dangling from the stalk. As if someone with thick awkward fingers and long gnashing teeth had gone to work on ‘em. But that’s nuts, these bushes are massive. Whoever did it would have to be, like seven feet tall… And what’s with the smell?

Like a tanker passing close to shore, a massive black bear glided through the forest scrub thirty feet from where I stood… Whoa.

Wait, bears eat salmon, and they really seem to dig these berries. Maybe that’s why they’re called Salmonberries! What else do bears eat? Hmmmmm… It was definitely time for me to get on home. (more…)

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Thimbleberries!

After a wet and deeply depressing June-uary, a sunny get-down-to-the-beach-and-rock-out July has come as a shining relief. Summer! People are out skim-boarding, biking, hosting noisy backyard BBQs, and enjoying life! Not to be outdone, mother nature soaks up the summer heat and busts out her brightest colours. So what if everyone’s lawn turns brown! Flowers are everywhere! And, along highway ditches and dog-walking paths, hidden inside the labyrinthine foliage of scrubby bushes and knotted vines are The Three Sisters of Summer: salmonberries, thimbleberries and blackberries… (more…)

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