Summer in Nova Scotia is filled with berries. Strawberries start off the season in June, then come currants and raspberries, then blueberries and eventually cranberries. I know that there are many sticky, steamy kitchens with resourceful jam-makers at any given point in the summer, working hard to preserve the summer sun in jewel-toned jars for eating through the colder, darker months. Ingrid and I have been friends for over a decade, so when I first came up with the idea for Nova Scotia Kitchens, I knew that I would feature one of her recipes. I was delighted when she suggested using gooseberries, since I had no previous experience with them. They grow wild in Nova Scotia, and there are also cultivated ones. They ripen in July. Ingrid lives in Pubnico, a French Acadian community about 35 minutes from Yarmouth. Her dad is an avid birder and he was gracious enough to take us on his boat to an island to pick gooseberries on an absolutely perfect late July morning. The real work came after we went back to Ingrid's house, with 14 cups of gooseberries in lidded dishes - although gooseberries are arguably one of the most beautiful berries, they need a pretty significant time commitment for preparing them. We decided to tackle everything in one day - morning to pick the berries, early afternoon to "top and tail" them, and the rest of the afternoon making the jam. It was a perfect summer day. There's lots of silliness in this episode - I missed cutting out a clip about tuna to save for the end, so that's kind of randomly in there - listen to hear how Ingrid and I differ in our tuna sandwich opinions. And to hear what happened when I started washing dishes. And of course for the sounds of berries bouncing in the bowl and jar lids popping. Enjoy!
"The Village" we chat about in this episode of the podcast is le Village Historique Acadien de la Nouvelle-Ecosse (Historic Acadian Village of Nova Scotia). It is an absolutely wonderful place to spend a summer afternoon after having lunch at the café in the Village. There are historic houses and workshops set up on the property, where you can see skills (net knitting, fish drying, blacksmithing) being demonstrated. There is a lovely trail you can walk, and they even have a few chickens to admire! You can buy preserves made at the Village in their gift shop, and if you're very lucky and visit soon, you might even find gooseberry jam.
Ingrid's favourite way to enjoy gooseberry jam in on a soft molasses cookie (Mrs Trask's Molasses Cookie recipe from Episode 1 would be perfect).
For supper in West Pubnico, you must go to the Red Cap Restaurant and have the haddock with lobster sauce. When we finally finished up our days' work, that's precisely where we went and what we enjoyed. You won't regret it!
Summer in Nova Scotia is the very best!