WHAT’S FRESH – WHAT’S LOCAL: SPRING 2014

whatsFreshSpr14

ASPARAGUS • CHIVES • DANDELIONS
ESCAROLE & ENDIVE
FIDDLEHEAD FERNS
GARLIC MUSTARD • GREEN ONIONS
LEEKS • KALE • LETTUCE
PARSLEY • PEAS • RADISHES
RAMPS • RHUBARB • SORREL
SPINACH • SWEET TURNIPS

There is no better indicator that spring has arrived than the appearance of rhubarb. Those lucky folks with backyard plants start seeing it unfurl toward the beginning of April and it is always in bountiful supply at local farmers’ markets just a few weeks later.

I adore rhubarb’s bright ruby color and tart, green-apple flavor. During its season, I make a point to pick up a pound or two each time I shop. Gently stewed or baked, rhubarb makes for a savory side dish that celebrates the return of our growing season. The first bundle I buy, however, usually gets turned into a batch of rosemary-infused rhubarb jelly that is enchanting on a cheese plate. And if your batch ends up being too wobbly for good spreading, try a spoonful or two whisked into a glass of sparkling water for a lightly flavored spritzer.

Once I have a few half-pints of that preserve socked away, I simmer up a batch of chutney. I really like one that is shot through with mustard seeds, as they soften and plump during cooking, lending both vivid flavor and a pleasing texture. It’s the kind of condiment that enlivens turkey sandwiches and pairs beautifully with leftover roast lamb.

When those two basics are on the pantry shelf, and I can find a few Meyer lemons, I cook up a batch of marmalade. You just chop up a few lemons (peel and all), let them soak for a while in some water, add sugar and cook. Slivers of rhubarb are stirred in at the end so that they don’t lose their texture or color.

This is one of my favorites for stirring into Greek yogurt.

RECIPES

ROSEMARY RHUBARB JELLY

MUSTARDY RHUBARB CHUTNEY

RHUBARB AND
MEYER LEMON MARMALADE

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