With the sun blazing a path in to August and the long weekend just on the horizon, it's the perfect time to chill, chill, chill with some new additions to your cool drink and dessert inventory.
Here's a collection of tried and true recipes you can count on from some of Pemberton's favourite local farmers and my own recipe box. They've all been tested — and attested to — by their creators.
If you were smart enough to get out to the strawberry u-picks like Camel's Back Harvest in Pemberton earlier this month, then you should have a nice stash of frozen strawberries in the fridge. Missed them? No worries, just stock up on the blueberries, raspberries and blackberries before they disappear and stash them in your freezer.
Here's how: Pick out the twigs and other unwanted bits then spread your berries on cookie sheets to freeze them before you bag them. Try to prevent them from touching each other, and simply leave them in the freezer until they are frozen solid then bag them. Don't — repeat, do not — wash them now. Do that when you take them out of the freezer to use them. You don't even have to remove the green sepals from strawberries.
Use freezer-weight bags, zipped or not (I double mine), and you'll have fresh frozen berries right through winter with great taste at a fraction of the cost of commercial ones.
This is a recipe that Carrie Charron at Camel's Back Harvest in Pemberton has adapted from VitaMix recipes, but any blender will do. You can use a food processor, too, it will just be chunkier. The Charron kids, Maxine and Cedric, call it ice cream but it's more like delicious soft serve.
Carrie's strawberry ice cream
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 c. sugar
1 c. milk
4 c. frozen strawberries — or any frozen fruit you like: raspberries or blueberries, or a mixture like strawberries and rhubarb
Blend everything well. If you use a Vitamix make sure you push everything down well with the tamper, especially in the corners. Serve immediately and enjoy.
Here's an icy favourite we enjoyed at home in Edmonton for years. The flavour is fresh and tangy, the mouthfeel smooth as silk. This is adult Creamsicle territory but kids will love it, too.
Awesome Creamsicle pie
1 355 ml. (12 1/2 oz.) tin of frozen orange juice (Try to go organic; the extra flavour is worth it)
1 litre vanilla ice cream
9-inch ready-made graham cracker crust
Remove the ice cream and juice from the freezer and let them soften on the kitchen counter for about 30 minutes. Pour the concentrated juice into a large bowl and stir until smooth — you don't want any ice crystals. Stir big spoonfuls of softened ice cream into the OJ concentrate until it's all stirred in. Mix well. Pour into the graham crust. Place a large piece of plastic wrap right over the ice cream mixture and smooth it flat so no air is trapped — that way you won't get ice crystals forming. Freeze until it's firm — about three hours. Top with orange zest if you like before serving. This keeps about a week in the freezer if you wrap it tightly with foil.
COOL SUMMER SIPPERS
When temperatures soar, tempers can, too, if people get dehydrated. Here's a selection of easy-peasy cool drink favourites. I'm getting thirsty just reading these!
Delaney and Alisha Zayac at Ice Cap Organics like to whip up this cool natural lemonade for lunch with their family of four and three "woofers." Ice Cap grows both spearmint and lavender, which is available at their farmers' market stalls and in their harvest boxes.