Where to Pick Strawberries in Manitoba

Where to Pick Berries in Manitoba

We wait patiently all year long for berry season. In fact, we rarely buy strawberries unless they’re in season and/or local. Fortunately, the wait is over and ripe Manitoba strawberries are here! Today we’re sharing our best tips and tricks if you’re looking to pick strawberries in Manitoba!

Strawberry picking season typically starts at the end of June and only lasts a few weeks. Make sure to take advantage of this season when you get the chance! Not all berries are ready for picking at the same time, raspberries and blueberries ripen later in the season, for example.

The Prairie Fruit Growers Association website is a great resource for finding all types of berry picking farms that are close to you. They also list some other important information about the farms (think: parking, all fruits available to pick, other family friendly activities) as well as some berry-filled recipes!

A few helpful berry picking tips:

  • Pick berries than are evenly red – avoid the green ones (they’ll be ready for the next person in a week or so!). Also avoid ones that are already rotten or moldy – they will impact all the berries around it in your bucket.
  • Typically at farms you pick berries into 4L baskets and they usually range in price (about $12-15). We try to get as much as we can into the basket but try not to smoosh them.
  • If you’re not interested in picking, may farms offer 4L baskets for sale but expect to pay more than the U-Pick price.
  • Bring the whole family – many farms are family friendly and may have other activities that you and your little ones may be interested in.
  • Keep your freshly picked berries refrigerated and use them up as soon as you can!
  • Freeze your berries whole or stewed, turn them into jam, or try drying them. Turn them into crisp along with some of your fresh rhubarb!

Our personal favourite farms are Grenkow’s Strawberry U-Pick and Boonstra Farms  but all the U-Picks have their pro’s and con’s so use the Prairie Fruit Growers Association website to find the best farm for you!

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Sauteed Spinach

Sauteed Spinach

As spring slowly turns into summer, us avid gardeners are looking forward to harvesting our first lettuce, baby kale, swiss chard, and perhaps also spinach.  That is, if we haven’t already made a fresh salad with the first cuttings!

This super simple sauteed spinach recipe takes about 10 minutes from start to finish, and can easily be modified to add other great, fresh vegetables if you want.

Sauteed Spinach

Sauteed Spinach
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Ingredients
  1. 6 oz spinach
  2. 3 cloves of garlic
  3. 2 tbsp canola oil
  4. 1 tbsp lemon juice, preferably fresh
Instructions
  1. Heat canola oil in non-stick saute pan over medium heat.
  2. Peel garlic and crush with the side of the knife, so they are cracked open. Add to the pan and let them heat through until they become fragrant, about 30 sec-1 min.
  3. Add spinach to the pan and saute. The spinach will shrink down immensely; it will only take about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the lemon juice to the pan, put a lid on the pan and let the spinach steam for 1-2 minutes.
Notes
  1. This recipe is easily doubled. Feel free to double the amount of spinach, or add different greens to the mix. If you are adding kale or chard, it may take longer for the leaves to cook down.
  2. To make a variation, begin by sauteeing some diced onions,peppers, and spices. Add the spinach (or kale/chard) at the end with a shot of cooking wine or stock and let steam until tender.
River City Cookery http://rivercitycookery.com/
Do you have an over load of spinach in the house? Here are some of our best tips for storing leafy greens!

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Rhubarb Berry Crisp

Rhubarb Berry Crisp

Our gardens are overflowing with ripe, delicious rhubarb right now, and this rhubarb berry crisp is the perfect way to start using it up!

Crisps are one of our favourite desserts. They can be made very quickly, often with ingredients you always have on hand, and are perfectly suited for a crowd. This recipe combines tart rhubarb with sweet berries to create a perfect dessert that can be served with ice cream or stand alone. 

Bring this rhubarb berry crisp to your next summer potluck!

Rhubarb Berry Crisp

Rhubarb Berry Crisp
Serves 8
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Cook Time
55 min
Cook Time
55 min
Ingredients
  1. 3 cups rhubarb, chopped
  2. 3 cups berries (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries), sliced if strawberries
  3. 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  4. 1/4 cup oats
  5. 3/4 cup sugar
  6. pinch salt
  7. 1 tsp cinnamon
  8. 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  9. 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 375F and take out a 9x9 baking dish.
  2. Add fruit in your 9x9 dish and mix to combine.
  3. Combine flour, oats, sugar, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a medium bowl and mix to combine.
  4. Cut in the cold butter to your flour and oats mixture. You can also crumble it with your fingers!
  5. Pour flour mixture evenly over your fruit and bake for 50-55 minutes or until golden brown on top.
Notes
  1. We used a 1:1 ratio of rhubarb to berries but if you prefer your crisp a little less sweet you can use a higher ratio of rhubarb.
  2. Serve crisp with ice cream, whipped cream, or as is!
River City Cookery http://rivercitycookery.com/
One final note: if you still have oodles of rhubarb after making this crisp don’t forget that you can freeze it or try out these Rhubarb Tea Biscuits!

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Freezing Herbs

One of my favourite things to plant in the garden are fresh herbs.  They smell fabulous and always add a great punch of flavour to many dishes – BBQed meats, salads, pasta dishes, even drinks – the list goes on!  Unfortunately, we have a VERY short growing season, so the optimal time for using these lovely fresh herbs is short.  Some herbs are hardy and you can over-winter them inside (like rosemary), others are not as hardy and love the warmth and sunlight summer provides (like basil).

There are a couple ways you can prolong the use of these herbs throughout the year that don’t include the hassle of trying (and failing) to over-winter the plants:

  • Drying: it’s easy to dry all kinds of herbs in your house.  You can cut herbs into bunches and tie them with string to hang in a cool, dry place.  Visit Getty Stewart’s site for more info on drying and preserving herbs.
  • Another great way to preserve these herbs is by freezing them.  A regular ice cube tray is the perfect way to portion the herbs out.

 

You can strip the leaves off the stalks of the plant – above is rosemary and oregano.  The rosemary leaves are not chopped and the larger oregano leaves are coarsely chopped.  Fill the cube about half full – about 2 tsp of fresh herbs.

Beside the oregano, I have added some dill to the tray as well.  

Before sliding it into the freezer, you can add either olive oil or water to these herbs to help preserve them.  For this post, I added some extra virgin olive oil to the oregano and rosemary:

 
And water was added to the dill:

Fill the cubes until the herbs are completely covered.

Once they have frozen, you can easily pop them out of the tray and into a freezer bag, which makes it super easy to take one cube out at a time.  They can be used for pretty much anything – add them to potatoes before roasting or grilling them in a package on the BBQ.  Or, you can put them in a sauce on the stove top.  

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Greek Barley Salad

This colourful Greek Barley Salad is packed full of flavour, fibre, and veggies. Using barley as the base to this salad has the benefit of giving it a huge nutritional punch while also being easy to prepare.

Greek Barley Salad

The recipe is very versatile. You can use pot or pearl barley to make this salad and feel free to make extra barley to freeze for future use. Any veggies you have on hand can be added or substituted to make this salad your own. We strongly recommend making the salad dressing in a mason jar so that you can shake to mix the ingredients well – this is a fun task for kids too!

Greek Barley Salad

Greek Barley Salad
This colourful Greek Barley Salad is full of veggies and packs a nutritional punch. Serve it as a dinner side or as part of a healthy lunch.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
50 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
50 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup Pot or Pearl Barley
  2. 1 English Cucumber, chopped
  3. 1/2 Red Onion, chopped
  4. 1 Red Pepper, chopped
  5. 1 cup Baby Tomatoes, slice in half
Dressing
  1. 1/4 cup Canola Oil
  2. 2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  3. 1 Tbsp White Wine Vinegar
  4. 1 Tsp Oregano
  5. pinch Salt
  6. pinch Black Pepper
Instructions
  1. Combine barley with 2 cups of water and cook until tender (about 40 minutes).
  2. Meanwhile, combine salad dressing ingredients in a mason jar. Shake and set aside.
  3. When barley is cool, combine with cucumber, onion, pepper, and baby tomatoes in a large bowl.
  4. When ready to serve, pour dressing over salad and mix to combine.
River City Cookery http://rivercitycookery.com/
 For more information about barley, check out our past post!

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