Said the farmer, “A lie-in’s a crime,
And I often wish roosters could mime—
Though, if ever I botch
The alarm on my watch,
At least someone round here crows the time.”
I am up at the crack of dawn to a chorus of roosters. I set out with Lisa for a morning of fruit picking in Oliver. It is that time of year…the time to can. Oh how I love to can…September brings on my passion to preserve. I often get carried away and find myself making jam or pickles or chutney deep into the night long after the household has gone to bed – “Not a creature was stirring…not even a mouse.”…except for me. Somehow I don’t think Clement Clarke Moore was referring to canning when he wrote T’was the Night Before Christmas.
My own peach trees are young and not fully producing so I still have to go elsewhere to pick peaches. And nectarines. There is something magical about reaching up into the leaves and pulling down a big, beautiful peach. I haven’t eaten nectarines in years because firstly, they are not that common, and secondly, in the grocery stores, they are usually rock hard and tasteless. Right off the tree, warmed by the sun – they are spectacular. I had forgotten how flavourful they are and how unlike peaches they taste.
The strawberry picking was easy. The strawberries are big and tasty. One for me…one for the basket.
Fresh strawberries, sparkling white wine—
Demerse one in the other: divine.
After a morning of picking, what could be more rewarding than a single perfect strawberry in a glass of 8th Generation Frizzante Style Integrity 2010 in a comfortable chair with a view of the farm.
Fresh strawberries have a short shelf life. There is the temptation to first process or freeze them for some future use. Resist that temptation. Enjoy strawberries fresh for as long as you can as the season is fleeting. I have dried, canned and made jam with these strawberries. Long into winter I will be able to enjoy the ethereal taste of strawberries. However, they must be eaten to excess while in season. What follows is a quick, fresh salsa that marries well with grilled salmon or on a cheese plate. Taste the jalapeno peppers before tossing into the salsa. They may be super hot or not so hot. The peppers I used were smokin’ hot. Adjust according to your taste bearing in mind the salsa should have some heat. Not for nothing is it called “fiery”.
Fiery Strawberry Salsa
2 cups fresh strawberries, washed, stemmed and roughly diced
1/4 cup shallots, finely chopped
3 tablespoons jalapeno peppers, finely chopped
1 glove garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Chill until ready to serve.
Serve with grilled salmon or other fish, chevre or other cheeses on a cheese plate.
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