Wow, October is already here! Every year I am always so reluctant to give up summer. I do like the changes of weather and colour of each season, but I really enjoy the long hours of daylight during the summer months!
But autumn is upon us and Canadian Thanksgiving is coming up soon. One thing I am most thankful for here on the pacific coast and the lower mainland of BC is the abundance of locally grown, fresh produce that is available everywhere.
The storage and shipping of produce depletes many of the vital nutrients they contain. Eating locally produced food ensures that it is picked at its ripest and sweetest and that it contains the maximum amount of healthy nutrients available. Supporting our local farmers helps to secure the future availability of our food supply.
The crust contains only 4 ingredients. Walnuts, dates, coconut and a pinch of salt. Walnuts are an important source of plant based protein, omega 3 fatty acids, and are anti-inflammatory, making them great for brain health. Cranberries are second only to blueberries when it comes to antioxidant content, and are high in Vitamin C, A and K. They are linked to a lower risk of UTI’s, and improved immune function. Both walnuts and cranberries have been linked to the prevention of certain cancers, and lower blood pressure.
Walnut Cranberry Tart ( adapted from @mydarlingvegan )
- 3/4 c walnuts
- 3/4 c shredded unsweetened coconut
- 1/4 c dates, pitted and soaked in water 30 minutes
- 1/4 tsp Himalayan pink salt
- 3/4 c. fresh cranberries
- 2 tbsp orange juice, unsweetened, or fresh squeezed
- 1/2 c. chopped walnuts
- 10 lg. medjool dates, pitted and soaked in water 30 minutes
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp Himalayan pink salt
- 3/4 c. walnuts, finely chopped
- 1/8 + c. fresh cranberries, halved
- 1 1/2 tsp agave nectar, or honey ( I prefer honey)
- 1 1/2 tsp water
1. Line bottom of tart pan with parchment paper and lightly grease sides with coconut oil. I used an
8" tart pan with removable bottom.
2. For crust, pulse walnuts in a food processor until a fine meal. Add drained dates, coconut and salt
to walnut meal, and blend until well combined. Evenly spread dough along the bottom and sides
of the prepared pan and place in freezer.
3. For filling, 3/4 c. cranberries in orange juice and let sit for 30 minutes.
4. Drain dates ( for filling) and transfer to food processor. Add vanilla, cinnamon and salt and blend
until smooth and creamy. Place in a bowl and fold in soaked cranberries and chopped walnuts.
Spread the filling evenly in chilled tart shell.
5. For topping, finely chop the remaining walnuts in food processor and spread evenly over top of
the date filling, and top with remaining cranberries. Pat down lightly.
6. Whisk together honey and water and using a pastry brush glaze the top of the tart.
7. Store in the freezer. Allow to thaw 10 - 15 minutes before serving.
Notes: I used an 8" tart pan with removable bottom. I sliced the tart into 16 small servings.
Summer's not over yet!
It is September 1st today, and kids start back at school this week, but summer is not officially over until September 22. Every year I am always extremely reluctant to give up on summer and move into the next season. Even though most of the berries are finishing, and I probably just canned the last of this year's peaches, we are just getting into the harvest season for so many more harder types of produce. I also just harvested our first acorn squash. A randomly dropped seed that had the good fortune to fall in a particularly sunny part of the garden has produced one of the healthiest veggies in my garden this year!
A particular favourite of mine are the apples. We are so fortunate here in BC to have such a wide assortment of varieties available to us from the beautiful Okanagan. I like to peel, slice and freeze them for warming apple cobblers throughout the winter months. Also eating an apple a day does keep the doctor away! A 2013 study published in the British Medical Journal concluded that eating an apple a day was just as effective at lowering LDL cholesterol as was taking a statin drug every day!
While it is still abundant, now is the time to continue nourishing our bodies with fresh, in season, local fruits and vegetables. The micro nutrients and phyto-chemicals they contain are the most important nutrients our bodies need for healing, regenerating cells and building our immune systems to prevent and reverse illness and disease. Eating them while they are in season ensures they contain the most nutrients available as travel and storage causes the nutrients to deplete.
Equally important to our health is being active. Before the weather really turns, make every effort to get outdoors as much as possible and enjoy the beauty of nature. Did you know that walking in the forest exposes us to plant chemicals that stimulate the production of our 'killer T-cells'? These incredible compounds are vital in protecting us from cancer. A walk along the beach is equally health giving as we are exposed to much greater amounts of negative ions. Negative ions stimulate defense cells in our bodies, allow us to absorb more oxygen into our blood cells, and are also mood enhancing. Watching a beautiful sunset isn't only romantic it's also healthy. The changing angles of daylight strike receptors in our eyes and help regulate our circadian rhythm (sleep patterns).
Just because the kids are going back to school don't resign yourself to thinking summer's over. Get out there and make the most of every day!