Friday, June 22, 2007

My Introduction to Rhubarb

Today was my first rhubarb encounter. By way of explanation . . . my sister-in-law and I decided to participate in a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) this summer. Our CSA, Homegrown Wisconsin, is a cooperative of organic family farms. We pay in advance for a share of the collective crop throughout the summer and fall. Each week we pick up a box of produce at a local site and the contents of the box vary as the growing season progresses. Sounds fun, doesn't it?

I picked up our first box last Wednesday and rushed home to unearth the contents. Green onions, head of lettuce, strawberries, chives, sunflower sprouts, spinach, baby arugula, kale and rhubarb. I could barely shut my refrigerator door.

We love to cook at our house. I love to shop for food. My general approach is that I want the highest quality, organic ingredients to cook with. But once I have obtained (and paid for) high quality products, I hate to waste them. It just seems so wrong to me. So I obsess a little bit about using every bit of fresh produce in our house.

With my full refrigerator, I have had to move fast with my meal planning. The kale and rhubarb have proved the most challenging. I have fed pureed kale to both my babies in the past because of its nutritional density. But I must confess to being wary of the bitter green (I am going to tackle the kale tomorrow).

On to the rhubarb. Last night, a friend suggested a rhubarb crisp. Apple crisp is always one of the highlights of my fall so this seemed like a sensible place to start with my rhubarb. I did a little research today and came across a lovely recipe on

I am quite pleased with the result. The rhubarb itself has such a lovely pink hue so the dish has an appealing pink color. The recipe calls for a lot of sugar, but my research today seemed to indicate that sugar is a necessary part of cooking with rhubarb. Next time, I might reduce the cooking time in order to keep the rhubarb a little bit firmer. But I would definitely make this again. I am so tickled to have tried something totally new. I can't wait for the next box.

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