The other day our friend Taylor showed Cass and I a group on Facebook called “Out Of Your Tree in Saskatoon” which is dedicated to sharing local wild/cultivated fruits/veggies. The basic idea is that if you have an apple tree in your backyard that you don’t have time to harvest you post on the group and people will happily come and load up on your apples. I’m really excited about it for a whole complex mesh of reasons, the first being the obvious access to non-commodified, packaging-less tasty goodness!
The other day someone made a post to the group about haskap berries growing on campus, which I had never heard of so we made a trip to see what we could find. We learned that the haskap bush is a man made hybrid of the blueberry and the honeysuckle and they have dark purple, elongated berries that are pleasantly tart and otherwise blueberry-ish. Apparently they also produce abundantly as we collected about a pound or two of berries in half an hour. They were literally falling off the bush XD
I then went on to cook them down into a tasty jam like goop which we’ve shared with friends and ate on toast for the last week or so.
This past weekend I also had the chance to perform at a small music festival in Southern Alberta, who’s site was completely rife with saskatoon berries. I picked about a 10x10ft square in half an hour and loaded up on enough saskatoons to make a pie or some jam or just freeze them for winter!
One of the really interesting and unexpected outcomes of this WasteNot project has been a growing awareness of ideas surrounding gifting and abundance. In our commodified society we’re really accustomed to buying a pizza when we’re hungry and tossing the cardboard box in the landfill. In Nature though, there’s no such thing as garbage. In Nature the waste of one organism is food for another. If we’re willing to look, Nature gives us things to eat in inconvenient abundance… It gives us so much that we can’t possibly use it all before it goes bad and we *have* to give it away. I think that there are deep deep lessons to be learned here. How might the world look if we could stop seeing “garbage” and instead see raw material for the life of our community and ourselves?
Man oh man, May was BUSY! We can’t wait to update you on how our move went, and some of the big plans we have for our little house, but that will have to wait for our next few posts. This post is an answer to several requests over on our Instagram account for recipes to some of the tasty food pictures we’ve been posting!
If there’s one major benefit to the changes to our diet through the Waste Not project, it’s definitely that we’ve been trying a lot of new ideas, spices, and recipes to keep things varied and fun. What follows are three of our tasty experiments.
#1: Cashew Cheese
I recently went vegan, and have been enjoying a somewhat bumpy path ever since balancing how I want to eat with what I want to eat. Cashew cheese reallllly hits the spot, and my batch seemed to hit a similar flavor mark to goat cheese. Does it function across the board as a cheese replacement? No. Is it super amazingly delicious and great as a spread in sandwiches or on crackers? Hell yes.
Super Simple Recipe:
1 cup cashews
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup nutritional yeast (available in the spice section of Bulk Barn, vegetarian/vegan super hero)
Throw everything into a blender and blend until smooth. I’m sure there is lots of room in this recipe to add spices (dill for instance!) or some sweetness (dried cranberries perhaps?) for some flare.
#2: Tasty No-Bake Date… Mush?
This recipe began with my desire to fashion some form of energy ball/power bite recipe from scratch. And let me just say right now, it tasted exactly like an eatmore bar!
Super Simple Recipe
2 cups pitted dates
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
handful of almonds
handful of cashews
4 – 6 tbsp unsweetened, natural peanut butter (you can have the chunky/smooth argument on your own time)
Soak the dates and nuts in water for a while beforehand; I left mine soak for about an hour, and then thoroughly drained them and rinsed. This just makes everything mushier and easier to blend.
Blend everything except the peanut butter in a blender or food processor, and then spatula into a mixing bowl. Add the peanut butter and mix together with a spatula, then either form into little balls (as shown in the banner photo for this post), or into a shallow dish. Sprinkle with some crushed cashews and coconut, or really anything else that will taste good with chocolate! Let chill in the fridge for a few hours to solidify before serving.
The original plan for this recipe was to add a bunch of protein powder (which I forgot in the heat of the moment, baking gets me all worked up), and I wanted them to be a bit more dense as power bites than they ended up being. Next go-round I’m going to mix in some oats as well to help them hold their shape, and perhaps try baking them a tiny bit!
#3: Almond Milk
I always figured almond milk would be much harder to create than it ended up being! I will warn, it is *much* pricier to make on the regular than buying dairy milk, but that’s not really how I use it. For me, it’s a treat that I’ll make for specific baking purposes (for instance chia pudding, or a vegan pancake recipe), so the cost difference doesn’t add up too much. Almonds are also (apparently) quite the water-guzzling crop, so it’s probably good to use them as a treat. 🙂
Super Simple Recipe
1 cup almonds; sliced or whole
2 cups water
strainer/cheese cloth/nut bag
The night before you intend to make almond milk, soak the almonds overnight in a shallow dish such that the almonds have an inch or so of water above them. This will make them muuuuch easier to blend completely.
The next morning, drain and rinse the nuts thoroughly. Then combine the 1 cup almonds and 2 cups water in the blender, and blend for 2 minutes on the highest speed.
Pour the milk-y mixture through your strainer/cheese cloth/nut bag into a bowl, squeezing the pulp with your hands to drain all the moisture from it. This is hardest in a strainer (which is what I have), and very likely much easier with a few layers of cheese cloth or a nut bag.
The resulting liquid is your almond milk! You can add sweetener to taste, vanilla extract, etc, and I recommend only making as much as you’ll use in the next 48 hours or so since there are no preservatives in it. The almond meal that’s left over can be used in oatmeal, smoothies, cookies, muffins, or even in my attempts at power bites – I haven’t found a consistent use for it yet, that’s a work in progress. 🙂
My favourite use for almond milk is making chia seed puddings; there are a million great recipes available online for them, and they are a simple overnight option to make ahead for breakfasts and brunches!