This article is the second installment of “Local, Seasonal and Organic Food” column, submitted by friend, health nut and reader, Denise.
A sure sign of spring, stalks of rhubarb are a terrific source of Vitamin C, potassium, magnesium and fiber.
These days, rhubarb is often regarded as a healthy & delicious dessert. But centuries ago, the Chinese would prescribe it as a natural remedy for digestive problems. It wasn¹t until Ben Franklin introduced the seeds to North America years later, that it became as common as it is today.
Pick your own at http://www.brooksfarms.com/
Remember, only the stalks are edible, don’t eat the leaves or roots. Rhubarb leaves and roots contain a high concentration of oxalic acid which is slightly toxic. It is safe, however, to compost them.
Growing it yourself in the southern Ontario climate is easy. And it looks as lovely as it tastes. It’s a hardy perennial, and it doesn’t use too much space.
Of course, rhubarb and strawberry pie is famous because “what grows together, goes together”. But strawberries won’t be ready until mid-June so let’s try something new.
Thanks Jamie Oliver for this awesome recipe for rhubarb chutney :
1 medium onion, finely chopped
100ml cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
1cm piece fresh ginger, finely chopped
1/2 tsp salt
- Trim and wash the rhubarb, then slice it, like celery, into fairly fine chunks. You could do this along a slight diagonal for effect.
- Heat the onion, vinegar, ginger, sugar and salt in a wide-based non-aluminum pan. Bring to a rolling boil for about 5 minutes, then add the rhubarb. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes, until slightly thickened. If you’re making the chutney to use at a later date, you can put it into a 500ml sterilized jar, still hot, at this point.
- If you are using the chutney now, let it cool slightly, then serve. Try it over fish, chicken, tofu… Rhubarb chutney will also go with ham, Cheddar, pork or lamb chops, and duck.
Denise Lambert is a vegetarian, food enthusiast and prepares healthy, organic meals on a weekly basis for several selected clients as a side business. Denise also tries her best to live the 100 mile diet to take advantage of the added nutritional benefits of eating locally as well as doing her part to ease environmental (and social) concerns due to food transportation.