Spring into Summer: Rhubarb Crisp

5/19/2015 - 1:28:26 PM
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Things have changed since even half a century ago. Food production has become global and food is transported from everywhere to the extent we don’t think twice about the concept of seasonal eating but eat greens and fruits in the middle of February because we can. However a hundred years ago our great-greats didn’t think twice about buying strawberries in the middle of winter either because,

  • They couldn’t afford it, and
  • it just wasn’t available most places 

They couldn’t wait for spring and summer to roll around because after a winter of eating starches, proteins, canned fruits and vegetables and grains the idea of eating a tender, young spring lettuce salad sounded almost like heaven. Now we feel like our nutrition isn’t complete if we don’t eat kale, lettuce, spinach or mixed greens at least several times a week if not everyday and we can do that because it’s available and cheap a few miles down the road. Of course this has a few pros and cons:

Pro: Since our soil has become more depleted of essential nutrients and minerals we literally need to eat more of the same thing to survive. Even so we have to supplement with vitamins and minerals to get everything we need, so to eat a good amount of fruits and vegetables each day will help up those nutritional balances in our bodies and keep us healthier.

Con: The thing we most have to watch out for is preservatives and chemical agents in our fresh produce. Since it is usually transported over distances farms and companies tend to go heavy on whatever will keep it looking freshest and nice at the other end which depletes our bodies more than builds it up. This one slightly outweighs the good of the other, and we can more easily supplement during winter than flush the bad chemicals our of our systems.

It’s better to eat seasonally

There’s nothing wrong with buying good produce in winter, but do keep an eye on what kind you get. For fruits or vegetables with very little skin be careful to buy as naturally as possible, and even go with locally grown as far into winter as you can.

It’s by far the best to eat large amounts of fruits and vegetables in spring, summer and fall though, because of the nutritional content, cheaper prices, AND delicious taste. Naturally your shopping trips are going to change a little in summer as most people tend to eat lighter the hotter the weather becomes, but basic shopping lists stay the same with each season with the exception of the fruits and vegetables.

Shop until you drop

Most of the time this applies to a slightly more fun shopping: clothes. We like this idea, except for a few women who hate to shop, but nine times out of ten it has a negative association with spending too much on things we don’t need, and usually ends in racking up credit card bills.

When you apply it to grocery shopping though it means you do most of your major shopping one day of the month, and then fill in about once a week with fresh produce and dairy staples or whatever odds and ends you need. After about 4 hours when you feel like you’re ready to drop you remember that this takes care of all major shopping for awhile

Figure out a basic menu that you stick to each month. Almost every woman has her go-to menu, even if it’s a drive through or TV dinner, and thinking through that a bit to stock up on the things that you usually use to cook can save a lot of time, money and hassle.

Example: You often make spaghetti, quesadillas, breakfast burritos, smoothies, or a meatloaf and mashed potatoes meal. Definitely keep things like tomatoes, pasta sauce, ground beef, linguine, potatoes, butter, cheese, tortillas, fruit and yogurt on hand. The beautiful thing about identifying your go-to meals is how many ingredients mix and match meaning you can buy in bulk and save on the grocery bill next month. Cherry season is coming up and buying in bulk at Kauffman’s (because that is the place to go, of course) and freezing them will give you handy smoothie ingredients for months and months.

After you’ve stocked up your basics buy eggs and dairy and meat as needed and either wait on your CSA shares for that gorgeous produce each month or buy it from a trustworthy place. If you end up using slightly more tortillas, flour, bread, potatoes, butter, etc etc than you planned it’s not a big deal because you can grab it while you’re picking up the other things. In the long run this saves you money because you’re going to the store less often, you’re going to the store less often while hungry and you’re planning better which means you know what is in your pantry and cooking repertoire.

Tip: Figure in a few extras for entertaining. If there are drinks on sale somewhere and you know you’ll have a cookout in the next month you can go ahead and get those so as to keep your entertaining hassle free and ready to go.

You now have extra time to do something with that beautiful bunch of rhubarb in the CSA share for this week.

 

Rhubarb Crisp Recipe - The way mom made it



Serves 4 || Preheat oven to 375°

  • 8 c rhubarb cut into 3/4" pieces
  • 1.5 c sugar
  • 1/2 c flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • Stir together and put in 9x13 pan

Combine:

  • 1 c flour
  • 1 c quick oats
  • 3/4 c brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 c melted butter

Instructions for the Streusel

  • Combine flour, quick oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and melted butter until it is coarsely mixed. Sprinkle streusel over rhubarb mixture.
  • Bake at 375° F for 35 minutes. 

Enjoy with a tall, frosty glass of milk or dollop of ice cream, whichever you like better. 

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