Headed out this evening to hit the urban bush with a bunch of Slow Food Edmonton members. I organized the event hoping it would be an easy, casusal way to get us like minded folk outdoors enjoying some wild food and good company – maybe even expose some folks to something new that grows in their own backyard. Turns out it was a success on all those fronts. Everybody went home with wild fruit this evening. Some folks will work with it in their kitchens for the first time. Some will enjoy it at a local fine restaurant whose chef cares enough about food to get into the bush to forage for it.
I quite simply equate the highbush cranberry to stinky french cheese – something distinctive, odorous [some compare it to stinky feet], that speaks to place and even time. Something that we should be proud of as having thoughtfully and skillfully integrated into our local food culture. I think there’s still a long way to go, especially with us younger generations. We have an ingredient of character in our own backyard, and hardly know what it looks like nevermind what to do with it.
As I’m prone to avoid recipes, I’ll point you in Karlynn’s direction re: a recipe for highbush cranberry jelly. What I can help with is its uses. It’s fine on toast in the morning, but in my opinion has met its proper fate on a plate with the wild game meats that live in the same bush. So get yourself some wild game, or even farmed elk, bison, venison, whatever, and give it a shot with some highbush cranberry jelly. It’s terroir food.