The abundance of summer fruit continues and I can't let opportunities to use farm fresh fruit go to waste. In no time it'll be freezing cold where I live and I'll be looking at twelve varieties of pumpkin and everything else will have to be imported.
Nature decides for me when it's time to write seventeen pink, fruity drink recipes in a row and when instead, I'll have to think of twenty uses for dried grapefruit peel. The winter will offer time to deeply examine the cultural impact of the ratio of Chartreuse to Barsmiths in the downtown core and how it affects your ability to find a leather apron on sale. (I'll be working on that one for an upcoming issue of Mustaches Lately)
So, while the season calls for it, here are some more snaps of our day at Thames River Melons in the pick your own patch. The raspberries and blueberries were outstanding.
They don't have an organic designation but they are using responsible farming practices, alternate plantings and there were most definitely birds and bugs, which are a good sign. It means the food you're about to consume is desirable to other creatures. Food that has been harshly treated or genetically altered (GMO's) will not appeal to bugs and birds and is a sign that you should probably avoid it as well, but everyone has to decide for themselves. One of the reasons I feel it's so important to get out to a farm in your area is so that you can see for yourself how your food is being treated and be your own judge. There are giant industrial farms with an Organic designation but the food sits on a truck wrapped in plastic for a week before it ever gets to you.
Or, there is a farm like this one that is near by, cares for the land and food but does not meet the requirements for Organic labeling. Again, these choices are about balance, being a consumer of both of those as well as some conventional produce is probably a more realistic scenario for most people.
After spending the day picking berries with a two year old in an idyllic, pastoral setting you can also be the person who uses those berries to make a firm drink. In an effort to help you find that balance, we'll make a raspberry and a blueberry syrup so your kids (or you) can enjoy it in an ice cream float and you (but not your kids) can have it drizzled over a local, whiskey fix.
1 C vanilla ice cream, plus additional 3 tbsp for garnish
2 oz raspberry syrup (recipe below)
4-5 oz soda water
Cherry or raspberries for garnish
In a soda glass or highball, add half of the ice cream and half of the syrup, repeat. Top with additional ice cream and cherry, serve with a straw and a spoon
2 oz Whisky (Forty Creek Copper Pot Reserve)
1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
2 barspoons blueberry syrup
Fill a wine glass 2/3 with crushed ice, pour in whiskey and lemon, add more crushed ice, top with syrup and fresh fruit
Tender Fruit Syrup
1 C sugar
1 pint fresh raspberries OR blueberries OR other soft seasonal fruit
In a heavy bottom sauce pan over medium heat bring sugar and water to the boil. Gently add fruit and salt. Reduce heat to low simmer for 15 mins. Remove from heat. Let stand until cool. Strain over fine mesh and/or cheesecloth. Keep in airtight container in fridge for 1 week.
*If you want this to last a little longer you could consider a pinch of citric acid but be careful a little goes a long way.
**This is my most common method for making syrups with tender fruit. It's important that the fruit be gently simmered. The juices will run from the fruit without it breaking down into tiny pieces. This is a must for clear syrup.
***yes, you can switch the syrups in these recipes. The formulas are interchangeable but the results will be two totally different flavour combinations