Like all Mediterranean trees, fig trees love warm, dry climates. Canadian summers are a far cry from the ones in sun-baked Italy, but you can still grow figs here. At RICARDO HQ, our fig tree has pride of place in the sun on the patio, and it’s rewarded us with a small quantity of figs to harvest. What did we make with them? These fig and goat cheese bites, topped with pistachios and a drizzle of honey. They’re like a little dose of holiday sunshine!
When it’s time to use our cantaloupe, we naturally think melon and prosciutto. But to really dress up our freshly harvested cantaloupe, we add thin slices of fennel marinated in white balsamic vinegar to this classic antipasto. And we wrap each quartered piece in a thin slice of raw ham or cucumber.
The most memorable dishes are usually the least complicated ones. To really savour your harvest of tomatoes, we suggest you make a colourful salad and serve it atop slices of herbed focaccia. Burrata lovers may also want to add some mozzarella cream to this dish. It’s so simple, you’ll love it!
Melons can be used in so many different ways! You can eat them just as they are to enjoy their sweet taste, or you can cook them. Sweet melon offers an interesting contrast to salty ingredients like charcuterie, cheese and even grilled meats. You can add it to a chicken salad or a veal burger. You can even make a cold savoury soup with it, halfway between a Spanish gazpacho and the flavours of Indian raita. At their peak freshness, melons are sweet and juicy. So enjoy the harvest!
This delicate fruit loves heat but hates frost. You have to pay close attention to the temperature and harvest it before the first cold snap. At RICARDO, we ended up with a mountain of ripe eggplants ready to be cooked...all at the same time! We chose to marinate them, but we grilled them first on the barbecue. Afterwards, they can be used in many recipes, either as an appetizer, in a sandwich, on pizza, in pasta or on naan bread with vegetables.
With the gradual return of cooler temperatures, at a certain point tomatoes simply stop ripening on the vine. But fear not—you can harvest them anyway and cook them in sauces. They’re great for making homemade ketchup, cakes or that classic from the American South: fried green tomatoes.
Yes, you really can grow your own grapes! At RICARDO, we planted our vines next to the sidewalk, so we use the grapes in our rectangular trottoir-style tarts (trottoir is French for sidewalk). The grape is one fruit that is rarely eaten cooked—this dessert is an original way to discover its sweet side.
More interested in vegetables? Click here to check out what vegetables we grow in the RICARDO garden.