The fall is amazing. I recognize that it is still summer in many places, but the temperature in the Yukon dropped about 20 degrees last week, and it started to rain – so it’s fall here. If you’re thinking why is rain and cooler temperatures so amazing – well, that’s a fair question, as they aren’t really – but what is amazing is the fruit and vegetables coming out of my garden and throughout the Yukon landscape.
Yesterday I stopped by my garden to pick a bunch of veggies. I came home with a huge basket full of beans (yellow and green), carrots (orange, yellow, red, and white – you have to love heirloom vegetables), and peas (edible pods and “regular” peas). And the garden is still loaded with many more vegetables to come – it’s a vegetarians dream!
The other amazing thing is the food you can gather from the landscape. My “super secret” patch of red currants in the the middle of downtown Whitehorse is still producing, so I made rhubarb current preserves the other day (recipe below). I’ve been collecting rose petals to dry for baking for weeks now. The rose hips are just about ready – which means I’ll be able to try out and share with you my friend Jeanine’s amazing rosehip jelly recipe. The blueberries and raspberries are starting. And the mountain ash trees are loaded with berries that are ripening up – it turns out that mountain ash berries are also known as rowan berries (who knew), and that you can make amazing jelly with them – I’ll keep you posted on that.
In a community like Whitehorse where food sustainability is an ever-growing concern (the majority of food is trucked in, and the price of gas is just going to keep rising), it’s nice to know that you can at least do some things yourself.
Rhubarb Red Currant Preserves
7.5 cups rhubarb
Grated zest of 2 oranges
2/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
3 cups granulated sugar
2 cups stemmed red currants
1 tsp nutmeg
Makes approximately five 250 mL jars
In a large stainless steel saucepan combine rhubarb, orange zest, orange juice, and sugar. Stir well. Cover and let stand for 1 to 4 hours until rhubarb releases its juices. Bring rhubarb mixture to boil over high heat, stirring constantly. reduce heat, stirring occassionally, for 15 minutes. Stir in red currants and nutmeg. Boil gently, stirring frequently, until currants are soft and mixture thickens, about 10 minutes. Ladle into hot jars, leaving 0.25 inch of headspace. Process in hot water canner for 10 minutes.