Living in northern Alberta sometimes means paying higher prices for imported foods. Food security can be a barrier for those who are on limited incomes, tight budgets, and for those who want to be wise with how they spend their money.
A great way to reduce the costs of fresh groceries is to purchase in season fruits and vegetables. Seasonal produce refers to foods that are both locally grown and imported. These fresh items are at their optimum in nutrients and flavour. During March, some of the available in-season vegetables and fruits are: beets, cabbage, turnips, carrots, rutabaga, mangoes, and pineapples. April vegetables include: zucchini, lettuce, artichoke, broccoli, and asparagus. (List source: Calgary Food Bank)
Rutabaga, a hybrid of turnip and cabbage can be eaten raw, boiled, friend, baked, and mashed. They are also great in soups and stews.
Turnips can also be eaten raw, cooked, or pickled, and are also a hearty addition to stews. When choosing a turnip look for smaller sizes, no brown spots, and green tops.
This roasted rutabaga recipe by Organic Authority can be eaten as a snack or side dish and is a healthier alternative to regular potatoes. You can also substitute any of the listed vegetables for any other type of in season root vegetable.
Roasted Rutabagas and Parsnips with Garlic and Thyme
2 medium-sized rutabaga
2 medium-sized turnips
¼ cup olive oil [canola oil can be used as a substitute]
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely minced
1 teaspoon sea salt
6 sprigs of fresh thyme (About 1 ½ tablespoons of leaves)*
Dry thyme can be used if fresh is not available
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper.
Cut off the tops and bottoms of the rutabagas and parsnips. Carefully peel and slice into thin spears. Toss in a bowl with the olive oil and spread in a single layer on the lined baking sheet.
Remove the thyme leaves by holding the top of the sprig between your pointer and thumb fingers. Then slide the pointer and thumb fingers of your other hand down the sprig quickly and easily remove the tiny clusters of leaves.
Sprinkle thyme leaves, garlic, and salt on the vegetable spears and cook for 25-30 minutes. After 10 minutes of cooking, use a fork to gently move the spears around so they cook evenly. They are done when some of the thinner spears start to burn.
Yovella is a former resident of McCauley who still works and volunteers in the area.