Monday, April 18, 2011

First harvests

We’ve finally made it. We’ve gotten through the end of winter to welcome the schizophrenic days of early spring when we don’t know if we’ll wake up to sunshine, storms or a frosty lawn. What we do know, however, is that it’s time for rhubarb and asparagus.

We harvested our first rhubarb about 10 days ago. I made pie and fruit crisp with it and also experimented with a savory side dish for Saturday night’s supper. I chopped the rhubarb then sautéed it in butter with a little salt. It tasted lip-puckering tart so I sprinkled on just a small finger-full of brown sugar to tame it, but not so much that it tasted like dessert. The final product was easier to eat with a spoon than a fork and it proved to be a nice accompaniment to the meal.

Rhubarb provides vitamin C and calcium. In addition, this fruit contains ferulic acid, an important phytonutrient. Just as phytonutrients protect the plants they come from, they also help protect from disease those who consume them.

The rhubarb in our garden grows happily with little care. When I pass by the raised bed where it grows, I pull up the weeds that poke up through the mulch surrounding our two rhubarb plants. When seed pods appear at the top of a stalk, I pull off that stalk. And before bringing the rhubarb inside, I discard the leaves, which are unsafe to eat.

I foresee more rhubarb experimentation in the next month as the rhubarb flourishes while we wait for more asparagus to cut. We had our first steamed asparagus yesterday—just enough for the two of us. Here’s to hoping the asparagus grows happily this week so we have enough for Easter Sunday dinner.

1 comment:

  1. Rhubarb and strawberry crisp, with a little scoop of vanilla ice cream is one of my favorite "food memories" from Grandma's table. The nephews stomped on my rhubarb new plants last year....and the rhubarb has not come back up. Reckon I'll have to plant new crowns. Giggles and Sighs