- Cost- The cost is usually lower for produce in season because there is an abundance of these items.
- Fresh- Produce is picked at their peak of freshness, offering more nutritional content, nourishing your body with vitamins, minerals, enzymes, antioxidants, and phytochemicals.
- Variety- You’ve heard the saying “all in moderation”. Eating seasonally helps with that component by switching things up from season to season and not eating the same foods all year round.
- Supporting local farmers- When you purchase local foods or visit the farmer’s market you’re supporting local agriculture and giving back to your community.
- Environmental benefits- It takes resources to grow the food, but also takes tremendous resources to transport foods to your local grocery store. By eating locally, you’re eliminating some use of our precious resources.
- Empowering knowledge- When you know where your food is coming from, you are empowered with knowledge of how your food was produced and may appreciate the farmers who put food in your belly more.
Here at The Growing Project, we value both of these options and would like to share some ideas you can use for cooking with seasonal, local produce. The month of May has a variety of produce that is in season and can be found locally such as asparagus, fava beans, green garlic, mint, morels, mushrooms, nettles, radishes, rhubarb, scallions, snow peas, and spinach.
For this month’s recipe, I would like to share a tasty strawberry - rhubarb treat. I made them to see how they would taste and they are delicious! Even if you’re not a fan of rhubarb, these are still tasty because the strawberries enhance the sweetness of the bars. The active time on the recipe says twenty-five minutes, but my first attempt took me almost forty minutes. Other than that, it is an easy recipe to follow, great for barbecues or just a special treat for the family.
Strawberry – Rhubarb Squares
9 squares, 2 1/2 inches each | Active Time: 25 minutes | Total Time: 2 1/4 hours (including 1 1/2 hours chilling time)
- 1 cup white whole-wheat flour or all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons canola oil
- 2 tablespoons butter, softened
- 2 cups coarsely chopped strawberries, fresh or frozen (not thawed), plus more for garnish
- 2 cups coarsely chopped rhubarb, fresh or frozen (not thawed)
- 1/3 cup water
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice or lime juice
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs
- Confectioners’ sugar for garnish
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8-inch-square baking pan with foil and generously coat it with cooking spray.
- To prepare crust: Combine flour, confectioners’ sugar, cornstarch and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. Add oil and butter; using your fingertips, blend into the flour mixture until evenly combined. The mixture will be a little crumbly. Firmly press the dough into the prepared pan. Bake until just barely beginning to brown around the edges, 15 to 20 minutes.
- To prepare filling: Meanwhile, combine strawberries, rhubarb and water in a medium saucepan. Cook over high heat, stirring frequently, until the fruit is very soft and mostly broken down, 4 to 6 minutes. Pour through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium bowl, pressing on the solids to extract all the liquid. Pour the strained juice into a glass measuring cup. You need 1 cup strained juice; remove any extra or add a little water if you are short. Stir lemon (or lime) juice into the strained fruit juice.
- Whisk granulated sugar, cornstarch and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl until well combined. Whisk in eggs. Stir in the juice mixture. Pour the filling over the crust.
- Bake until just set, 15 to 20 minutes. (The center should still be a little jiggly—it will firm up as it cools.)
- Let cool to room temperature in the pan on a wire rack, about 1 1/2 hours. Gently lift out of the pan all in one piece using the edges of the foil. Cut into 9 squares. Garnish with fresh strawberries and dust with confectioners’ sugar, if desired, just before serving.
Recipe retrieved from http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/strawberry_rhubarb_squares.html