Thursday , January 21 2021

HEARTh and Home – Rhubarb and Asparagus: Fresh Is Back


Rhubarb and Asparagus

April is the first full month of spring, and the fresh, locally grown produce we missed during the long, cold winter is beginning to return to the produce aisles and farmer’s markets. In the Midwest, some of the first in season fruits and vegetables are asparagus and rhubarb. Asparagus is in season in April and May, and rhubarb is available from April to June. To extend the shelf life of asparagus and rhubarb, you can freeze them for up to one year.

Both of these stalky vegetables contain high amounts of vitamin K. Rhubarb contains 24% of the daily recommended value per serving, while asparagus contains 70% per cup. Vitamin K plays a role in bone strengthening. It also helps limit neuronal damage in the brain; it is even used to treat Alzheimer’s disease. Rhubarb is also a good plant source for calcium and magnesium.

Asparagus is a controversial vegetable. People tend to love it or hate it. It’s best to eat it when it’s fresh because that is when its flavor is the most delicate. When it is overripe or overcooked, it becomes bitter and sour. In our recipe, we use the acid in apple cider vinegar and lemon juice and mushrooms to bring out the earthy flavor.

Asparagus with Mushroom Risotto
32 ounces vegetable stock
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
1 small white onion, chopped
1 cup Arborio rice
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons water
1 lb. chopped asparagus with the woody stems removed
1 4-ounce can of mushrooms, drained
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
½ cup parmesan or parmesan substitute
Salt and pepper to taste
Chopped fresh basil

Heat the stock in a large stock pot and bring it to a simmer. Cook the onions in one tablespoon of butter. Add salt. Once the onions are cooked through, stir in the rice until it is coated. Mix the apple cider vinegar, lemon juice and water in a small bowl, then add it to the pan. Add fresh ground pepper. After that, pour the stock into the pan half cup at a time as it becomes absorbed (about 20 minutes.) Add the chopped asparagus and mushrooms before the last of the stock. Stir in parmesan and butter. Garnish with fresh basil. Serve immediately.

Rhubarb Oatmeal Crumble
Fruit Filling
2 tablespoons cornstarch
½ cup raw cane sugar
1 teaspoon lemon extract
4 cups chopped fresh or frozen rhubarb
2 cups sliced fresh or halved frozen strawberries

Oat Streusel
1 ½ cups rolled oats
½ cup coconut flour
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
½ cup (1 stick) melted butter or margarine
½ cup raw cane sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon cardamom

Preheat oven to 375˙F. Mix together cornstarch, coconut flour, raw cane sugar, confectioner’s sugar and lemon extract. Coat fruit with the starch and sugar mixture. (If you are using frozen fruit, do not thaw it.) Pour fruit mixture into a greased 8×8 glass baking dish. Mix together streusel. Spoon oat streusel over the fruit. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes, until streusel is golden brown.

Food Facts Sources:

Janae Jean serves as editor, social media manager and podcast co-host for Conscious Community Magazine. She enjoys improvising in the kitchen and creating recipes with her loved ones and is very grateful for their input and assistance.

Photos: Janae J. Almen

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