Summertime…and the living is easy. It certainly is when ripe, luscious berries burst onto the scene. Nature’s version of fast food is a delight to pick and eat. I’m eagerly waiting for the blackberry bushes in my backyard to erupt in their dark purple splendour. In the meantime, I’ve raided the strawberries and wild blueberries that are abundant this time of year. In my neighbourhood, it’s not only the people who enjoy this organic fast-food ‘drive-thru’ but the animals who share the land with us. We discovered this last week when we freaked out thinking our car had been covered in purple paint. Fortunately, this was not the case; the birds had also found the blueberries. Unfortunately, I was told the difference after trying to scrape off the offending substance with my hands. Yuck. Enough yuck – this recipe is a celebration in praise of the local berry. It’s also an homage to my Mom, who can always be counted on to make one heck of a fruit crisp. My version is another low sugar experiment that features low GI berries, and yet, remains as tasty --well, almost as tasty -- as Mom’s. I love that fruit crisps don’t require much beyond your pantry to make, deservedly leaving the fruit as the star. Starring in this crisp are strawberries from Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley, and I can’t begin to explain how amazing they are. The imports we receive from California just cannot compare in sweetness and texture – our local berries rock! The co-star, the wild blueberry, is a thing of beauty; it oozes a sumptuous dark purple juice you just don’t see with high-bush berries. Baked together, they were a moment of heaven. However, you can achieve this kind of stardom with the local berries you have – it’s really not the location that counts so much as the ‘local’. So, here’s how to reach stardom with your own fruits: Ingredients:
- 2 cups wild blueberries - 2 cups sliced strawberries - 2 tablespoons whole wheat flour - 2 tablespoons brown sugar - 1 apple, chopped into cubes - 1 teaspoon cinnamon - 1 cup rolled oats - 1/4 cup chopped cashews (or any nuts you like) - 3 tablespoons sugar - 1/4 cup butter
This is pretty easy to assemble. Throw (gently) the berries in a baking dish. Mix the flour, 3 tbsp of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and sprinkle over the top of the berries. Then, rub the oats, butter, brown sugar, nuts and the rest of the cinnamon together until it's a crumbly texture, and sprinkle over top. Bake at 350F for 30 minutes. Eat this right away – the warmth really makes the fruit sing! You can add some whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla as the supporting act, if you like. Make sure you don't leave this in a place where birds may find it. Just sayin'.