that make my
The time is ripe for enjoying
strawberries, raspberries and blueberries
By Anne Desjardins
In a northern country such America, Native Canadians cul-as ours, the change of sea- tivated strawberries and showed
son is a much-awaited the first European settlers how
event. Aren’t we known to cultivate them as well.
for always talking about Marine officer François Frézier
the weather? After a long, hard was the first to introduce the
winter and a late, short spring, Chilean strawberry into France.
summer finally arrives! The big red plump strawberry
Among the joys of summer that we enjoy today is the result
are seasonal fruits. Abundant of a crossing with this variety.
and fresh, they shine in market The raspberry grows on a
stalls, appetizing, perfectly ripe, spiny shrub whose brambles
juicy and fragrant. flourish in most temperate coun-
Some of my best memories of childhood tries and latitudes. Raspberries also have been
are reawakened each year when certain fruits harvested since the beginning of time. Wild
reappear on the market. In my mind, summer raspberries are smaller and darker than com-would not be summer without berries, so mercial berries, sometimes almost black. The
symbolic are they of this beautiful season’s cultivated varieties of raspberry yield larger,
arrival in our land. juicier fruit. Their fragility and relative rarity
These days, of course, efficient trans- make us appreciate them all the more.
portation systems make berries available to The dark blue fruit known as the blue-us year-round. In our grandparents’ youth, berry grows on shrubs of the large Vaccinium
one could not imagine eating strawberries in family. This shrub thrives in the poor sandy
winter! Their appearance is rather beautiful, soil of northern countries. The cranberry is a
even enticing. red Vaccinium (known as atocas to native
But once summer hits, nothing can sur- North Americans), and its European cousin is
pass the flavour and fragrance of our small called bilberry or whortleberry. The large cul-localstrawberries,sweet-smellingraspberries tivated blueberries are less fragrant and
and wild blueberries. These delicacies last sweet. In Québec, the small wild blueberry is
only a few weeks, but they are unbeatable! In the emblem of an entire region: Lac St.-Jean.
jams, on pies, with whipped cream on small Across Canada, the wild blueberry is still
angel food cakes, in fruit salads, in iced fruit widely harvested commercially, and so much
drinks—imagination is key when it comes to the better for us! C
creating culinary delights. Each of these
berries has a history, and we have been pick- Anne Desjardins is the award-winning chef and
ing them since time immemorial. owner of L’Eau à la Bouche, a hotel-restaurant
Strawberries are perennial plants that located in Sainte-Adèle, Québec.
grow wild in woodland undergrowth and
prairies. They were prized by the Romans for
their refined flavour and aroma. In North
flavoured with ginger
on fine maple cream jelly
6 g (or 3 sheets) gelatin
125 mL (1/2 cup) 15 per cent cream
125 mL (1/2 cup) real maple syrup
1 L ( 4 1/4 cups) fresh strawberries
125 mL (1/2 cup) real maple syrup
15 mL ( 1 Tbsp.) aged balsamic vinegar
5 mL ( 1 tsp.) grated fresh ginger
1 pinch salt
6 small strawberries
6 lemon balm or mint leaves
Petals from orange Hemerocallis
garden flowers (optional)
Prepare the maple cream jelly 3 hours
Soak the gelatin in a small amount
of cold water. Bring the cream and the
maple syrup to a boil, remove from heat
and add the gelatin, dissolving it completely. Pour the cream into the bottom
of 6 small bowls or 1 large serving bowl.
Place in the refrigerator so the jelly sets,
and set aside.
Wash the strawberries, remove the stems
and cut them in half (reserve 6 strawberries for the garnish). Place the strawberries
in a large bowl, pour in the maple syrup,
the balsamic vinegar, the ginger and the
salt. Keep at a cold temperature for approximately 2 hours. Next, put the mixture in
the blender and blend thoroughly until the
texture is like soup, then adjust the taste
and the texture by adding water.
Cut the reserved strawberries into thin
slices and set aside. Gently pour the strawberry soup onto the fine maple cream jelly,
then garnish with strawberry slices, lemon
balm or mint leaves and flower petals if
available. Serves 6.