By Julie Hutter, RD, CDE
This is the first blog article in our What’s in Season? Series for 2022
As winter changes to spring, so does our seasonal produce. The weather begins to warm, snow melts (depending on where you are in Canada), and spring showers bring more local produce. Make the most of these months with simple salads, sweet and savoury pies, and even a little grilling where the weather allows.
Enjoying in-season* produce has many benefits. Seasonal produce is at its freshest, maximizing flavour, providing important nutrients to support our health, and reducing our environmental footprint. Purchasing in-season produce also helps to support our local communities and farmers. In-season produce is also more widely available at local grocery stores. It tends to be less expensive than out-of-season varieties. You can freeze leftover seasonal produce to add it to smoothies, soups, baked goods and more throughout the year.
Enjoy the following low-potassium fruit and vegetables during our spring-time months:
April, May, June
- Fruits: apples, rhubarb, strawberries
- Vegetables: cabbage, carrots, fiddleheads, leeks, mushrooms, onions, radishes, rutabaga
You might be wondering, “What can I do with this in-season produce once it’s in my home?” Produce is versatile and can often be enjoyed between appetizers, entrees and dessert! Below are three ways to enjoy rhubarb:
#1: As a snack
Rhubarb Applesauce – two peas & their pod
1/4 cup water
1 pound rhubarb trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
2 pounds Granny Smith apples peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
1/4 cup – 1/2 cup sugar depending on how sweet you want the applesauce (I used 1/4 cup)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Place water, rhubarb, apples, and sugar in a large saucepan. Cover and simmer until the fruit is soft, about 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in cinnamon. The apple sauce will be chunky. If you prefer smooth applesauce, you can run it through a blender or food processor. Serve at room temperature or cold. Store rhubarb applesauce in refrigerator for 2-3 weeks. This apple sauce also freezes well. Store in an air-tight container in the freezer for up to one year.
This recipe is great on its own, or on top of yogurt and oatmeal for a boost of flavour.
#2: As a dessert
Rhubarb Bread Pudding – American Kidney Fund – follow the link for the nutritional analysis
Unsalted butter, for greasing the baking dish
1½ cups unsweetened rice milk
½ cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon corn starch
1 vanilla bean, split
10 thick pieces white bread, cut into 1-inch chunks
2 cups fresh rhubarb, chopped
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Lightly grease an 8-by-8-inch baking dish with butter; set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the rice milk, eggs, sugar, and corn starch.
Scrape the vanilla seeds into the milk mixture and whisk to blend.
Add the bread to the egg mixture and stir to completely coat the bread.
Add the chopped rhubarb and stir to combine.
Let the bread and egg mixture soak for 30 minutes.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared baking dish, cover with aluminium foil, and bake for 40 minutes.
Uncover the bread pudding and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until the pudding is golden brown and set.
This recipe can also be served as a breakfast dish, in addition to dessert.
#3: As a mocktail
Strawberry Rhubarb Lemonade – Recipe posted to Kidney Community Kitchen with permission from Garlic & Zest
*In-season produce may vary depending on your location and access to fresh fruits and vegetables in your area.