Roadtrip: Kelowna and Vernon

1 08 2011

Enjoying the summer? We have had a busy agenda so far. This past week we made it out to the Okanagan in BC for our second annual trip to stay and visit friends in both Kelowna and Vernon. Can you call something twice done annual? Sure. This year we stayed at the Palliser Lodge in Golden, BC on the way out so our drive wasn’t as long and we didn’t have to leave early in the morning from Calgary. It was lovely, quiet and just what the doctor ordered. I was fighting a summer cold, but I warded it off with Vitamin C, Echinacea and homeopathic Coryzalia (besides my pillow and lots of rest). I was not risking a cold for wine tasting and buying. 😉

Our first stop was, well, uh, um, a winery. I changed into a summery frock in the Orchard Mall parking lot and we headed to Summerhill Winery for a light lunch and glass of wine before meeting up with our friends. Priorities eh, kidding, it was a scheduling opportunity. At Summerhill we had a build-it-yourself cheese platter. The one thing that I was in love with were the Truffled Wild Mushrooms. How easy would this be to make. Saute various wild mushrooms (chanterelle, morels, porcini etc) in some light olive oil and a bit of truffle oil. Yum. I’m gonna remember this one to try one day. We picked up wine after lunch and headed to Cedar Creek, their Merlot is a favourite of ours. It was all business, we know what we want, taste the newest press, choose, buy.

Cheese, Fresh Bread and Truffled Mushrooms

On the way home from BC we always pick up fruit. This is where my rants about organic versus local get stirred up in my head. We bought as much organic as we could, but it is not as prevalent and usually only found at the farmers markets that we missed. You can get pesticide free fruit, not necessarily certified organic, this is a good alternative though. It is expensive for farmers to certify when they can’t control the farms around them spraying. Anyhow, we did our best and picked up a box of apricots for grandma (she likes to make jam), a box of peaches (Tony’s favourite), a small box of cherries (they had a late harvest this year and we ate half of the box on the way home) and a big box of blueberries. What to do with all this fruit? Eat some fresh, bake some and freeze the rest!

I am not a jam maker, per se. I like to make fresh jams without sugar and they don’t preserve for long, so I make small batches of freezer jams and use frozen fruit through the winter to make new batches and other things. I bought the blueberries mostly for my green smoothies. Green Smoothie = fruit + green leafy vegetables, i.e. spinach, kale, swiss chard, beet greens etc. It’s the first thing I eat every morning. 1.5 cups of fruit to 3 cups of veg. Blend it up well with 2 cups of water. Good for the body, mind and soul (and digestive track :)). Drink this before a healthy breakfast, good to go.

Banana, Blueberries with Spinach and Swiss Chard from my garden

Freezing fruit for winter is easy. I like to wash it all off with a veggie wash. I fill the sink, immerse the fruit for a few minutes and then rinse. Let it dry a bit. Place berries on a cookie tray to dry, use a dish towel or paper towel if you’d like. Cut fruit like peaches into slices and place on tray. Freezing like this doesn’t take long. When frozen throw fruit into a freezer bag, pressing as much air out as possible. If you have an airtight bagging system, use that of course. I don’t, but might invest in one. Enjoy fruit all winter long.

What is your favourite summer fruit or fruit recipe?

Eat well, Be well,

Nat

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