Written by Chic Country Life

Loving the rural life. Living close to nature with the family and my motorcycle on the Manitoba Prairie.

August 4, 2017


Berry season kicks off the yard taste tours at our house every year. The kids know that once the strawberries are ready it is only a matter of time for the rest of the fruit and vegetables. If I can’t find a child outside, I need only look in the strawberry patch or check later for the red evidence on their shirts, hands and faces. While our patch is a lot smaller than it used to be, it still yields enough for plenty of fresh eating: strawberry pancakes, smoothies, muffins and more.
Picking strawberries from your own garden or at a u-pick is an excellent opportunity to teach young children simple lessons about colours, what the berries look like when they are ready to be picked, how to pick berries without ripping out the plant. These are all great conversation starters. But by far, the best part is watching their eyes light up with excitement s they find the berries hiding under the leaves.


Activities like this help little ones with their manual dexterity, and their creative side is sparked as they try to decide what some of the oddly shaped berries look like. They also invite discussions about bugs. While picking we found a daddy long legs and a black cricket, spurring lots of bug talk. After a quick picking we were able to fill a bowl with strawberries — enough to make smoothies for everyone!
Helping in the kitchen is another great activity. Kids love it, especially if they can get a little dirty. While they are practicing their pouring and measuring skills, they are learning that not all food comes from a box or a drive through! I let the boys pick out the juices they wanted to use in the smoothie and they poured everything into the blender themselves, under supervision of course! Here is the recipe they decided to make, based on what we could find in our fridge.
Strawberry tropical smoothie
1 cup fresh strawberries
1 cup guava juice
1 banana
1 cup pineapple juice
1/2 cup Greek yogurt (optional)
1 cup ice
Throw it all in a blender, mix and enjoy!


From scratch strawberry/berry pancakes

Who doesn’t love pancakes? If you are lazy you can just add fresh strawberries to any mix but for the best pancakes you need to make them from scratch. This is the recipe I have been making since I was a kid. I use it as a base and then just add to it for different flavours. It’s also great for kids because it uses simple measurements. I let the boys do the measuring and stirring on their own. I provide them with the one-cup measure and the individual measuring spoons we will need, and they take turns adding ingredients. Breaking eggs is a little harder, but if you have them break the egg in a bowl, it is easy to take out any pieces of shell that may fall in. I let them mix the batter, but usually have to add a little arm power to ensure it is smooth before adding the strawberries in. On occasion we bring out the blender and both of them take a turn, which they love but I still prefer to mix by hand.

1 cup flour
1 tablespoon sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
Pinch salt
1 egg
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon melted butter (or oil)

Mix dry ingredients first, then add wet ingredients and stir well. Cook in a heated and greased fry pan. Add any of the flavours below before cooking for a tastier treat.
Strawberry pancakes: Chop up 1/2 cup of strawberries and add to batter just before cooking.
Hearty breakfast pancakes: These are heavier than a regular pancake and are great for an early morning snack. Add 1/2 cup of oats, and 1/2 apple chopped fine or grated, a teaspoon of cinnamon and applesauce or milk if the batter requires thinning. (You can also add a tablespoon of maple syrup and you have a perfect take-out breakfast.)
Be creative: Add a 1/2 cup of whatever edible berries you have in your yard, or apples, or mashed bananas, or let the kids decide what type of pancakes they want to create. It’s fun and they’re learning how to cook and use garden produce. Just don’t give into onion pancakes; they are really not that good.

Written by Tania Moffat for Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario Gardener magazines. For more gardening information visit

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