It’s pear season, and what better to do with LOTS of pears, than make yummy preserves out of them to last us into the winter! This particular variety of pear is called the Ure Pear. They turn a greenish yellow as they ripen and are very juicy!
For this event, OFRE volunteers met on a Monday evening and together made 2 delicious jam recipes:
Pear & Vanilla Bean Jam
Pear & Ginger Jam
The Pear & Vanilla Bean Jam recipe uses real vanilla beans that are first scraped out to remove all the beany goodness inside and then the beans and scraped bits are put to simmer in the pot with the pears. The smell of this jam on the stove is heavenly! After the beans have simmered, they are removed and the jam is pureed in the blender to make a smooth saucy jam. Molly declared it’s quite amazing on ice cream!
The Pear & Ginger Jam recipe uses chopped crystallized ginger and keeps the pear chunks in whole form, so the slices end up suspended in the jam. Crystallized ginger as well as the whole vanilla beans can be found at the Italian Centre Shop. The scent of the ginger awakens you senses and is a nice complement to the pear. This recipe was my mom’s recipe and I always loved this jam. Thanks for sharing mom!
We strive to teach OFRE volunteers canning basics at our workshops, which means volunteers get involved in all aspects of the process from: chopping, stirring, mixing, and canning. It’s always a pleasure to host these events because many of our volunteers have experience doing as well as an interest in canning. We all seem to learn something new from each other at our canning events, which makes if quite fun for everyone.
Both jams turned out really nicely and their was enough for everyone to take home 1 jar of each kind. The new jams have been also been a hit at our stand @ the Alberta Avenue Farmers Market.
This year has been an amazing one for OFRE in terms of community connections, newly recruited volunteers, and new projects outside of picking fruit.
Many of our volunteer pickers are not only interested in harvesting and eating local food, they also want to learn how to preserve the fruits of their harvest. Many of the traditional canning/preserving skills have been lost, but there is a keen interest among the younger generations in learning these skills and making food in a more sustainable way.
With this in mind, we have started to host canning, preserving, and cider making workshops for our volunteers. The goal of these workshops is threefold:
educate each other on canning and preserving practices and recipes
make products to distribute among members
to generate a source of revenue for OFRE through sales of items made from OFRE fruits. Fresh products made my volunteers using Edmonton grown and harvested fruits doesn’t get much more local OR sustainable than this!
OFRE now has 460+ growers in our list and I feel that we have barely scratched the surface of how much fruit is actually grown in the city. To think about what is here in terms of quantity as well as variety is quite mind-boggling, especially when you think that 1 apple tree can produce 200+ pounds of fruit in a season!
With this many growers, we gather a lot of fruit! So, making cider, jams, jellies, etc. is one way for OFRE to get through the fruits rescued in such a way that this can be shared and enjoyed long after the season is over.
We will be making our debut at the Alberta Avenue Farmer’s Market this Thursday (Sept 1st). In the summer, the market is outdoors and the market runs from 5pm-8pm. Look for our items at the Community Tent.
I had the privilege of attending the Beyond the Supermarket event this past Sunday (March 20th), which was organized by Slow Food Edmonton. It was run as a world cafe with different vendors taking spots at tables and interested parties could pull up a chair to ask you about your group or organization.
I went as a representative for OFRE in hopes of spreading the word about what we do and to capture more interest among volunteer pickers. I felt it was big success! I had lots of opportunities to engage with potential volunteers and left the event with a big list of people who are interested in joining us as pickers this year. Yay!
Hello OFRE donors, fruit growers, and member of the general public,
If your apples fell to the ground before they were ripe, or were covered in bruises while still on the tree, you probably have an apple maggot infestation. Now is the time to act!
To learn how to control for this pest, come to the apple maggot workshop on:
Tuesday, May 25, from 7 – 8:30 p.m. at Inglewood Hall 12515 – 116 Ave.
Hear the experiences of other local apple growers, learn how to make apple maggot traps, and take home traps to help reduce apple white fly in your own trees. Offered in conjunction with Inglewood Community League.
Free for OFRE fruit donors, $2 for Inglewood Community League members and $5 for the general public.