Executive Chef Rick Choy (left) and Executive Sous Chef Ian Goard (right).

PACIFIC PALATE – Don Genova

Prepare summer berries for a winter feast

The big food event happening in Victoria this weekend is Taste, Victoria’s Festival of Food and Wine. http://www.victoriataste.com/

Now in its fifth year, Taste was created in year one on a wing and a prayer by local culinary tour operator Kathy McAree and it has proved to be a hit in that first year and every year since, with some events sold out well in advance. With just a few tickets left this year,  my money would be spent as soon as possible on Swine and the Vine, taking place on Saturday, July 27 at the Hotel Grand Pacific. A whole suckling pig will be roasted on a spit and served with lots of locally-produced beverages and other accompaniments.

In other timely news, here on the Island we are right in the middle of raspberry and blueberry season. While the blueberries will continue to come in for the next few weeks, raspberries are harvested over a shorter time frame, so if you see some nice ones, don’t wait, buy them! Raspberries can be pricy, I’ve seen them ranging from $42 to $50 a flat for organic berries. Certified organic blueberries usually run about $5 a pound, but non-organic berries can be had for a steal right now, as little as $2 a pound.

Stock up now and freeze your berries for use later this summer, or even better, in the dead of winter. Blueberries can be tossed into the freezer in their original containers. Once they’re frozen, transfer them to freezer zip-lock bags and label them with the month and date. With raspberries, because they are more fragile, I spread them out in a single layer on a parchment paper or silicone sheet-lined cookie tray and lay them flat in the freezer overnight. It’s a good opportunity to pick out any damaged or mouldy fruit at this time. The next morning they should be easy to remove from the tray and into freezer bags. Try to figure out how many berries you want to store in advance. When I started freezing this year’s crop, I discovered several bags still left in my freezer from last year!

 

 

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