You may recall seeing an invitation on these pages this spring to send us a “fruity story.”
We received loads of wonderful short stories from you about your berry-picking experiences and adventures and thank you all for writing to us.
Notably, every story we received was handwritten and all are about adventures out picking wild fruits.
Air Turns Blue
It was a warm July afternoon and several family members were picking wild saskatoons in a well-treed area. The berries were delicious and since we could only hear the other pickers but not always see them, we were enjoying my aunt’s rendition of “Jesus Lover of My Soul” while we worked. Suddenly, the singing stopped to be replaced by “$%#@!! I spilled my pail of berries!” I don’t believe I had ever heard her use such foul language before. Like a good drama, it was such a sudden and profound reversal of mood, instead of feeling sorry for the spilled fruit, we were all doubled over from laughing.
– Margaret Heise
1949 Was A Year For Wild Strawberries
As a young couple just married six months, we came back to the farm with no money and no other means of transportation except to walk. So what to do early spring on a Sunday?
The wild strawberries were in full bloom. What are we going to do? They were getting ripe, without pails, no jars, no sugar and no money. There was an older storekeeper and my husband went to ask for credit.
We found some old enamel cooking pots. Lo and behold, we put up 65 quarts. Only twice more in our 61 years on the same homestead did we see such an abundance of strawberries. To this day, I put up loads of cranberries and last year (2010) we found a bush of wild plums. As for blueberries, I can’t count how many milk pails!
– Tina Reimer Pine River, Man.
That’s fitting, since we’ve promised to send the writers of the three best stories each a recipe book featuring exclusively wild berries.Precious Wild Berriesis a recipe book we featured on these pages earlier this spring and its author, Frieda Martens, literally beat the bushes herself compiling it. It’s full of muffin and cobbler and cake and jelly and pie recipes – all made with all the wild fruits so many of you have had such fun picking over the years.
Wild Strawberries Fill A Baby’s Bathtub
In the early 1950s, my husband and I and two wee boys lived in Melita. One July a neighbour, Jean, asked if I would like to come picking wild strawberries with her. “Of course, I would,” I replied, and called my parents, who lived close, to babysit.
Jean said to bring along a pan to pick so I took a small oval dishpan I used as a baby bathtub. No plastic pails back then! Jean, her mother, and I drove out of town southwest until we came to a small sand dune surrounded by bush just off the road.
When Jean stopped the car her mother announced, “well girls, before I get down to pick I have to get out of my corsets,” and did so in a flash.
I could not believe how many berries were in the ditch and sand dunes. We soon had our pans full and headed home. My mother was also amazed at the bountiful berries. Of course, she helped me prepare them for the evening meal and jam for later on. That was the first time I ever saw an older lady shed her undergarment – and the last time I ever picked so many wild strawberries!
– Isabella Proven
1-1/2 c. graham
1/2 c. sugar
1/3 c. melted butter
Mix and put in an 8 x 8-inch pan, saving 1/3 c. for topping. Chill in fridge.
8 oz. cream cheese,
2 c. Nutriwhip, whipped
1/4 c. icing sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
Beat ingredients until soft and fluffy, spread over base.
2 3-oz. pkgs.
2 c. boiling water
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 c. cold water
Dissolve Jell-O in boiling water. Add lemon juice. Fold in frozen raspberries; stir until thawed and partially thickened. Pour over cream mixture. Top with whipping cream, sprinkle with crumbs. Cool until set before serving. Can be put in a larger pan depending on the thickness you desire.
Source: Carman Palliative Care Cookbook
Box 1794, Carman, Man. R0G 0J0
or email [email protected]
STRAWBERRY BRUNCH SOUFFL
Don’t let the “soufflé” title mislead you; this dish is super simple to make. It must be served straight out of the oven, so have your fruit and toppings (and hungry guests) ready at the table. In summer, try this with any kind of juicy berry or sliced peaches.
3 c. strawberries or other
fresh fruit (sliced)
2 tbsp. sugar
Sprinkle sugar on fruit, toss gently and set aside.
2 tbsp. butter
Preheat oven to 375 F. While oven heats, place butter in a 9-inch pie pan and place in oven to melt. Swirl pan to grease bottom and sides.
1-1/2 c. milk
Beat together with mixer or in a blender.
3/4 c. flour
1/3 c. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. vanilla
Add and beat until smooth. Pour batter into pie pan and bake until edges are golden brown and centre is set (25 to 30 minutes). Spoon berries on top and serve immediately, cut into wedges. Serve with sour cream or plain yogurt and brown sugar to sprinkle on top. Serves 4.
Source: From Simply in Season: Expanded Edition by Mary Beth Lind and Cathleen Hockman-Wert. Copyright (c) 2009 by Herald Press, Scottdale PA 15683. Used by permission.
COBBLER BUCKLE CRUMBLE
1/4 c. butter or
3 tsp. baking powder
1/3 c. milk
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1 c. flour (1/2 whole
1/2 tsp. salt
3 c. saskatoons Topping:
1/3 c. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 c. flour
1/4 c. butter or
Cream butter and sugar. Add egg and beat. Add dry ingredients alternately with milk. Mix well and pour into well-greased baking dish. It may be baked in a 9-inch square pan for a thick dessert or in a 9×12-inch pan for a thin dessert. Sprinkle saskatoons over batter. Combine sugar, flour, cinnamon and butter and spread evenly over berries. Bake at 350 F for 40 -45 minutes. Serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream. Makes 8 to 10 servings.
Source: Prairie Fruit Growers Association website www.pfga.com