To celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday, we’re shining a spotlight on the ingredients we grow from coast to coast and the recipes that best represent the different regions of the country. From blueberry jam made with British Columbia blueberries to Quebec’s potato-based poutine to Nova Scotia’s coveted creamy chowder, the featured recipes are as diverse as the provinces they come from and landscape that grows them.
West Coast Canada
The west coast is less prone to frost than the rest of the country so they are usually the first to enjoy the bounty of the growing season. From fresh berries to sweet summer peas to cherries, there is no shortage of edible inspiration to be found on the west coast of Canada.
Popular food blogger and bestselling cookbook author, Amy Bronee, lives in Victoria, British Columbia, and makes use of the plentiful local produce by “putting it up” for the cold-weather months. Her blueberry raspberry jam is a simple four-ingredient recipe that allows home cooks to savour the flavour of local berries for future months. In addition, Amy’s chutney and pickle recipes are also worth bookmarking, especially when you find yourself overwhelmed with a bumper crop.
Speaking of pickles, we also really love this sesame salmon with quick-pickled cucumbers. A nod to British Columbia’s fishing industry, this is a seasonally-inspired dish that will also make use of those vibrant, crisp cucumbers abundantly available at farmers’ markets and grocery stores this time of year.
The Prairie Provinces
Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, the prairie provinces are home to some of the most fertile farmland in the world. With a relatively short growing season, many farmers use greenhouses to extend harvest time. In the summer months, you can expect to find local beets and blackberries at the markets or in the grocery store, as well as summer squash and strawberries.
Thanks to the influence of the Eastern European settlers in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, beets, and more specifically borscht, is a soup that everyone in the prairies seems to know how to make. Each family likely has their own variation, but food blogger and cookbook author Renée Kohlman’s vegetarian version lets you also make use of other seasonal items like cabbage, carrots, potatoes and dill.
Calgary-based food writer Julie van Rosendaal is often inspired by the zucchini she finds in her fridge and two of her best creations include these crispy zucchini-feta fritters and this deep dark chocolate sour cream zucchini cake. Also check out Julie’s recipe for us, her roasted pumpkin with wild rice, apple and kale stuffing.
Welcome to Canada’s most populated province. Culinary influences abound from both coasts and Southern Ontario’s optimal agricultural climate and excellent growing conditions result in fabulous produce. In short, good things do indeed grow here. From crispy corn, to juicy peaches, root veggies, leafy greens and apples, the home of Canada’s capital city has it all. There is also an abundance of greenhouse vegetables and mushrooms grown throughout the seasons in Ontario.
Meals should be simple this time of year, letting the humble ingredients speak for themselves like they do in this classic Greek salad. The trifecta of juicy tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers with fresh mint are a winning combination that pair perfectly with feta cheese. Another salad idea for later in the summer is this sweet Ontario coleslaw with locally grown apples, cabbage and onions.
When it comes to corn, buttery cobs garner the most attention, but we also like this grilled corn and nectarine relish, a summer side that shines when spooned over grilled chicken or fish tacos. Sweetened with a touch of honey and lime juice, this is the ideal way to use up a basket of ripe nectarines or an abundance of corn cobs when you’re looking for new and exciting ways to enjoy them.
Québec’s cuisine is as rich and diverse as the province itself. Despite being famous for its maple syrup, tourtières and split-pea soup, they also boast a rich growing season, offering a wide variety of fruits and vegetables like cantaloupe, potatoes and beans.
Montréal-based food blogger and cookbook author, Aimée Wimbush-Bourque is known for her use of whole foods to feed her growing family. She frequently shares recipes using local produce procured from the market or neighbouring road-side stand, turning seasonal items into delectable dishes. Her article on how to build a grilled green bean salad is worth saving, as is her recipe for cantaloupe honey sorbet.
Canada’s predominantly French-speaking province is also the original home of poutine, a dish traditionally made of French fries, cheese curds and light brown gravy. If you love potatoes too, check out the Produce Made Simple video guide to different potato varieties and how best to prepare them.
East Coast Canada
The Atlantic region of Canada consists of four provinces that rest along the Atlantic Ocean – Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador. Seafood is of great importance to these maritime provinces, and potatoes are a mainstay crop in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, making them a staple in this region’s cuisine.
This warm potato salad is the perfect potluck or picnic dish and these chorizo, onion and cheese-stuffed potato boats are ideal for a simple summer supper. Make them in advance, tuck in the freezer for another day, and bake just before serving.
Another way to bring the seaside home any night of the week, is with these fresh fish tacos with peach jalapeno salsa. Bursting with colour and crunch, these fresh tacos are a summer supper worthy of your time and attention.