Being Getty

Last week we told you about the Prairie Fruit Cookbook by Getty Stewart, PHEc and we announced she will be guest blogging for Be Well this summer, something we’re really excited about (read her first post here). 
I read the Prairie Fruit cookbook cover to cover this weekend and loved all the recipes, information I learned and tips I picked up (like how to get grape stains out and what the waxy white coating on fruits is). I talked to Getty and she shared with us how the cookbook came to be.

Getty Stewart picking rhubarb. (Photo by James Turner, Metro Winnipeg)

Q. 1 What inspires you?

Family, nature and community inspire me.

(Note: The Fruit Share program Getty founded is the perfect example of building community, involving her family and harvesting nature’s bounty. The program has flourished thanks to the shared passion and commitment of hundreds of volunteers.)

Q. 2 What gave you the idea for the Prairie Fruit Cookbook?

In my work with Fruitshare, I realized there was a need for some sort of resource on how to use prairie fruit. There is a lot of fruit available to us and people are eager to learn how to identify it, harvest it, pick it, store it, can it, preserve it, cook with it and bake with it. I saw a gap for an all-in-one resource.  
It initially started off as a 40 page booklet about how to harvest and share fruit in Winnipeg.  The more I talked to people about the book, the more I discovered that they really wanted more recipes and preserving techniques about all kinds of prairie fruit.

That’s how the book turned into the 226 page book it is today. It includes information and recipes on 11 different kinds fruit found throughout the prairies.
What I really love about it is that anyone can make the recipes. They’re  easy and made with ingredients that can be found in everyone’s pantries, they don’t have any exotic ingredients you have to go out and buy only to use once.

Q. 3 What inspired the recipes in the book?

I wanted delicious, fruity recipes that everyone in my family would love and that I would be proud to take to a pot luck.  I wanted a combination of sweet and savoury recipes – everything from raspberry jellyroll to plum and sage pizza.

Several recipes were also submitted to me by friends and volunteers of Fruit Share. Testing and adjusting the recipes took some time, but my family didn’t seem to mind. 
What inspired it was my love for harvesting local fruits and veggies and discovering what to do with them. I get great pleasure from growing and harvesting my own bounty and turning it into preserves, meals and baked goods.

Q. 4 What is one of your favourite recipes in the book?

It’s hard to pick just one favourite…

The chapters in the book go by fruit and every time I look at a chapter I think to myself I have to make this during strawberry season or I’m making this for sure when apples are in season.
I have different memories associated with all the recipes.

For example, I have only been dehydrating fruit for a little while, so memories of all the experimenting I did with it and my family’s reactions stand out to me. The dehydrated beets did not go over so well! (Read about her dehydrating experiences on page 21 of the book.)

Another is the Apple Crumb Cake. It’s just “home” for me. My mom always made it so it reminds me of her.

Another favourite is the Apple Couscous Salad because I love that it shows that there are many ways to enjoy fruits, baking isn’t the only option for apples and other fruits.

The chapter on Grapes reminds me of my sister’s farm and making grape pie.  We always get a good reaction on grape pie from people, they can’t believe we peel grapes to make pie (of course we don’t tell them how easy prairie grapes are to peel)!

Q. 5 What is one thought you like to leave people?  

 We have such amazing fruits and vegetables available locally, and so many amazing things to do with them. Take advantage of our local bounty and enjoy!

See this post to find out how you can win a copy of the Prairie Fruit Cookbook or click here to find out where you can get your own copy of the Prairie Fruit Cookbook.

Be Well…Wendy

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