While I love, love, love new potatoes, nothing says "fresh from the garden" to me quite like green beans. Last year, a monster of a hail storm destroyed most of my garden, including my two rows of green beans. The plants attempted a comeback but the flowers had been knocked off... so no beans grew. My family was dismayed... they had grown up eating green beans all winter long, that I had blanched and frozen from the summer's harvest. So we went without. I just can't convince myself to buy frozen grocery store beans. They just don't cut it.
You can only imagine how discouraged I was in mid-July this year, when I was once again hit with a major hail storm. It didn't do quite the damage as the storm the year before. But my garden was a MESS! All I could do was pout for awhile, clean up the shredded debris and hope for the best.
Well Mother Nature sure didn't let me down. In the short span of a couple weeks, my garden had recovered and, best of all, the green bean plants were loaded with delicate purple flowers! It is absolutely amazing how resilient nature can be.
The harvest as been bountiful! And delicious! We'll certainly have our fill this summer and will be eating green beans from the garden all winter long. I've got my work cut out for me. But the delight I take in feeding my family with healthy, farm fresh vegetables that I've raised, makes the hours spent picking and preparing the beans for the freezer so worth the effort.
When life's storms hit, it's tempting to just give up. I know that I'll for sure keep this year's bumper crop with me whenever I'm feeling discouraged. It's such a good reminder that even a big set-back shouldn't stop us from keeping on!
Sadly another strawberry season is over here at Quiet Creek. Happy to say though that there's always next year (as all true farmers say!). I've been growing Kent strawberries from Vesey's for years and my little patch never disappoints. Every three years I replace the plants with new shoots as early in spring as the frozen ground will allow. I've tried squeaking out four years but have found that three years is the best, with peak production in both quantity and size at year two. Once established all the pretty little plants require is water once a week. I do fertilize each spring with Miracle Grow and leave only the biggest, strongest runners to grow during the summer. Other than that though, they are fairly maintenance free.
This year my berries were much smaller due mostly to a massive hailstorm (tennis ball size if you can believe it!) that shredded the little plants late last July. I was unsure what kind of crop I’d get but was pleasantly surprised! These tough little plants bounced back and produced many bowls full. We all had our fill of fresh berries and on my birthday (I won't disclose how old I am but let's just say 39 and holding!) we enjoyed my very favourite cake - angel food with strawberries and whipped cream. Yum! I honestly can’t find the words to adequately describe how sweet and juicy these farm fresh berries are...They absolutely just burst with flavour!
There were also enough berries to make several batches of Strawberry Freezer Jam. Nothing beats the fresh taste of freezer jam...especially in January! My Mom faithfully made jam each year when I was growing up (still working on that at times!). I've followed the tradition and have now passed that on to my daughter Amanda. We've always used the simple recipe on the Certo box and have never been disappointed!
No matter how you slice it, fresh jam on toast is a real treat! And it's even better when you've experienced the simple pleasure of bringing your own strawberries from farm to table!
If you're looking for the most delicious rhubarb recipe around, you've come to the right place! This is hands down my family's favourite rhubarb dessert. It's been our go to recipe for decades. Really.
Rhubarb is one of the first plants to show signs of life in my yard after our tough Alberta winters. It's hardy and reliable. And grows incredibly quickly! Soon after the snow melts, the sprouts appear and in no time I've got more rhubarb than I can possible ever use.
One thing is certain though... there will be more than one pan of Rhubarb Squares baked and enjoyed! It's one of those simply classic recipes that calls for basic ingredients you'll always have on hand.
2 c. flour (all purpose, whole wheat or gluten free)
1/2 c. butter
1/4 t. salt
1/2 c. sugar
1 t. baking powder
1 egg, beaten
Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. Cut in butter and then mix in beaten egg until mixture is crumbly. Take our 3/4 c. crumbs for topping. Press remaining crumbs in a 9x 13" pan.
4 c. chopped rhubarb
1 1/2c. sugar
1/2 c. melted butter
1/2 c. flour
2 eggs, beaten
1 t. vanilla
Mix well in order given. Pour over crumb mixture in pan. Top with remaining crumbs and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.
Bake at 350 degrees for 50 - 60 minutes, until set and crust is golden brown.
Delicious served straight up or for dessert topped with ice cream!
I'm positive that if you like rhubarb, you will absolutely LOVE this easy to make classic recipe. It's not too sweet, not too tart and is the perfect blend of custard, shortbread and crumble textures!