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Squashberry Jam from Grandmother Pearl

My youthful Grandmother Pearl at 66 years of age is a wonder in the kitchen. She tends to prepare large meals for her extended family on a regular basis. On Sunday, one can suspect that she has a massive pot of salt beef, vegetables, meat and bread pudding cooking for a Sunday dinner.

She ensures to hold onto local tradition of ensuring recipes of wild game, fish and beans are mainstays at her table. There is nothing like a piece of fresh halibut out of her pan during the months of summer.

Her specialty skills come as a baker. She makes all sorts of squares, buns, rolls, cakes and my most loved item – her freshly baked pies with apples or local Newfoundland berries. There is nothing like a cut of bakeapple or partridge-berry pie and a scoop of ice-cream.

Spreading Squashberry Jam on Toast

Last time I was at her house, she gave me a small sample of her squashberry jam. I can not re-call if I have ever tasted such a local treat. I was eager to place this jam on a piece of toast. It is quite delicious. I look forward to berry picking this summer.

If you would like more information or to purchase some Squashberry product, you can visit locally The Dark Tickle Company in beautiful St. Lunaire-Griquet, Great Northern Peninsula at http://www.darktickle.com/squashberryinfo.aspx

Live Rural NL 0

Christopher Mitchelmore

Partridge Berry Picking….A Family Affair

Lingonberry or Patridgeberry

It is that time of year again, when a lot of rural Newfoundlanders and Labradorians gear up with jugs, buckets and other containers to the barren fields in search of the red ruby berries, known to us as the “partridge-berry” and internationally as the “Lingonberry”.

The following information has been taken directly from the Dark Tickle Company’s, St. Lunaire-Griquet, NL website. Partridge berry (Vaccinium vitis-idaea). Internationally known as the lingonberry this relative of the cranberry family is a low mat forming evergreen shrub with tiny rounded leaves. These berries grow in the dry, acidic soils of Newfoundland and Labrador’s barrens and coastal headlands. Their twin flowers have a pinkish hue in bud then turn white as they bloom in mid-June to mid-July. The fusing of the two flower ovaries gives rise to a single dark red berry ripening through September’s frost. Tart in flavour they are high in vitamin C, tannin, anthocyanin, and antioxidants. These agents are attributed to the prevention of high blood pressure, urinary tract infections, cardiovascular disease, cataracts, slowing such aging processes as memory loss and the deterioration of motor skill, improving circulation, as well as the prevention of certain forms of cancer.

Well, we have experienced the first September’s frost this past Saturday on the Northern Peninsula making it the opportune time to get your berries. I remember picking with my family near the barrens near the St. Anthony airport. There would be patches of red, where you could pick to your heart’s delight. I’m not the biggest fan of this berry, it is a little tart for my taste. I prefer the bakeapple (cloudberry), however this was a fun activity for the whole family to participate and enjoy.

Partridge berry’s are loved by many people. The berries find themselves in many jams, jellies, fillings of pies, side dishes or garnishes. However, there is an opportunity to diversify these agri-food products and add greater value. The Dark Tickle Company has done an exceptional job of creating chocolates and teas using these berry products.

Rodriguez Winery in the province produces many speciality wines and liqueurs from fruit and berry products. Check them out at: http://www.rodrigueswinery.com.

While visiting the Norsemen Restaurant & Gaia Art Gallery, L’Anse Aux Meadows (http://www.valhalla-lodge.com/restaurant.htm) I had the opportunity to sample a drink called the “Partridgrini”. I don’t know the recipe, but did find one from “Occasions Magazine”, which is distributed by the Newfoundland & Labrador Liquor Corporation.

PARTRIDGE & APPLE MARTINI

  • 1/2 ounce of partridge berries
  • 1 oz Pulukka lingonberry Lapponia
  • 1 oz Phillips Butterscotch Ripple Schnapps
  • 3 oz apple juice
  • Apple wedges

Preparation:

  1. Drop the partridge berries in the bottom of the martini glass
  2. Shake apple juice, schnapps and lingonberry lapponia with ice and strain over berries using cocktail shaker
  3. Garnish with partridge berries and apple wedges

Opportunities exist to diversify as consumer tastes broadened in rural communities to appeal to both locals and tourists. We are not limited to local markets, as exporting is readily available. Don’t get me wrong, there will always be a special place in our hearts for Grandma’s Partridge berry pie or Mom’s jam. However, we can be creative and find additional uses for this renewable natural resource that grows in abundance on the Northern Peninsula of Newfoundland & Labrador.

Enjoy your experience with the Partidge-tini!

Live Rural NL – CCM

Bakeapple Jam, Vinegar and Tea

Freshly made "Bakeapple" jam at Dark Tickle

If you grew up in Rural NL part of the experience is tasting many of the locally grown berries, such as the partridgeberry (lingonberry), squashberry, gooseberry, and most of all for me the beloved bakeapple (cloudberry). I have fond memories of picking these berries on the marshes and barrens not too far from my home. I would have a small jug as a boy and my parents larger ones. My father would always have three or four times the amount I would pick. I look forward to when the bakeapples ripen again, sometime later this month to early August so I can start picking. The reward is fresh jam, pies, squares and toppings for icecream and cheesecake.

Yesterday, I had supper (supper is the evening meal) with my grandmother. We talked about bakeapples as she poured a heaping amount of freshly made fluffy “doughboys” (or dumplings), which we were about to eat with garden vegetables and salt meat. I love eating with my grandmother, she makes the best traditional foods, it may be her years of experience and knowledge not to follow every direction and still have it turned out as sweet and flavourful as the person she is today. A meal spurs lots of conversations as we discussed staples of yesteryear, gathering and harvesting from the land and how one learns to make bread, doughboys, jams and the like.

While on vacation on June 28, 2010 I decided to stop at The Dark Tickle Company, in very scenic St. Lunaire-Griquet and enroute to L’Anse au Meadows, National Historic and World UNESCO Heritage site. This is an economusuem. 

 

Producing Jam Behind Glass

An ECONOMUSEUM

® is a craft or agri-foods business whose products are the fruit of an authentic technique or know-how. The business showcases artisans and craft trades by offering an area for interpreting its production and by opening its doors to the public.   

ECONOMUSEUM®, which are self-financed through the sale of their products, make an innovative contribution to the cultural tourism sector. (Source: http://www.economusees.com/iens_en.cfm)

The owners, Steve and Gwen Knudsen have done a remarkable job of establishing a true working economuseum. As you enter the facility you can view a worker preparing product behind the glass, they also have a tasting station, various interpretative panels, inviting NL music and their Granchain Exhibit, which is the winner of the Manning Award, as well as a large gift shop with a variety of their products and other artists. These entrepreneurs have taken making preserves to a new level as they have greatly expanded and developed their products to include non-traditional items residents would not typically make from berries, these include teas, vinegars, sauces, syrups and chocolates. You can visit an incredible website to see for yourself and even order their products on-line. Check out: http://www.darktickle.com/. I was quite pleased with the cup of bakeapple tea and the blueberry infused NL Screech chocolates I purchased.

Tradition can be retained, but it can also evolve with the right mindset. Steve, Gwen and their family are part of that process. My hat goes off to people like these, that take simple ideas and turn them into something so wonderfully pleasant to enjoy. Their power of ingenuity and innovation has truly made me proud to say this business exists in Rural NL.

We need more people like Steve and Gwen, that will take a simple concept and create an experience. We have a rich culture and heritage that is unique and should be shared with others in today’s global world.

Live Rural NL…

We Will Grow and Prosper.

CCM –

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