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Strawberry & Rhubarb: A Heavenly Match!

Inspire Health Event Calendar July 15, 2011

This recipe incorporates two wonderful and seasonal fruits: strawberries and rhubarb. Both of these sumptuous fruits are rich in phytonutrients (“plant nutrients”) such as antioxidants and vitamins and minerals (especially when picked and consumed fresh and are organic). We need these valuable nutrients to stay healthy and keep our immune system strong in order to stave-off cancer and improve our chances of survival. In short, a must in one’s toolbox.

Rhubarb is frequently regarded as a fruit (based on how we eat it), but botanically, it is a vegetable belonging to the same family as sorrel and buckwheat. Championed for its phytochemical lindleyin, this nutritiously sour veggie may even provide some relief of hot flashes in perimenopausal women.[1]

When we hear the word ‘strawberry’, we might think about a very commonplace fruit. But the antioxidant capacity of strawberries is anything but common. In an evaluation of antioxidant content of commonly eaten foods, and based on common serving sizes, strawberries came out third in the US among all foods, including spices, seasonings, fruits, and vegetables (In this analysis, based on serving size, only blackberries and walnuts scored higher in total antioxidant capacity).[2]

I don’t know about you but to me, strawberries just don’t taste quite right until they are in season. This makes sense because phytonutrients are not fully developed when grown in synthetic fertilizer, sprayed with pesticides, or are picked under-ripe and shipped in boxes for long distances. Enjoy strawberries now while they are at their flavour and nutritional peak!

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

  • 3/4 cup fine ground whole spelt flour
  • 2/3 cup raw pine nuts or cashews, lightly toasted at low temperature (to preserve nutrients)
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup natural cane sugar –unless your berries are very sweet, then without adding sugar!
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine grain unrefined sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground cardamom and/or cinnamon and/or fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup unsalted organic butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon organic cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup unrefined/raw cane sugar (Panela brand is good and found at Whole Foods)
  • 1/2 lb. ‘hulled’ medium strawberries, cut into quarters
  • 12 ounces trimmed rhubarb, sliced into 3/4-inch pieces
  • Approx. I tsp. organic butter for greasing skillet/pan
  1. Preheat the oven to 375F, with a rack in the middle.
  2. Butter a 10-inch round dish or a 9×9 square baking dish.
  3. Combine the flour, nuts, oats, sugar, salt, and spices together in a bowl.
  4. Use a fork to stir in the butter, squeeze into a few patties, then place in the freezer to chill at least ten minutes.
  5. Make the filling by whisking together the cornstarch and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add the strawberries and rhubarb, and toss until evenly coated.
  6. Transfer the filling to the prepared pan, remove the frozen topping patties from the freezer, and crumble across the top of the filling -make sure you have big pieces and small.
  7. Bake for 35 – 40 minutes or until the topping is deeply golden and the fruit juices are vigorously bubbling.
  8. Cool for approximately 20 – 30 minutes before serving.

Serves approximately 8 portions. Prep time: 20 min – Cook time: 40 min This recipe was adapted from www.101cookbooks.com

Other delectable ideas for this winning combination

  • Homemade jam (skip the sugar; use raw honey and freeze for a very simple and delicious freezer jam)
  • Stewed compote. Serve with organic Greek-style yogurt and some chopped walnuts to really amp it up flavour and health-wise (omega 3 in walnuts and probiotics in yogourt)
  • Try them in your favourite chutney –delicious!
  • And, of course, pies or tarts also work beautifully with this combo. Be sure to skip the white flour and use whole spelt; it’s much lighter than whole wheat so makes a nicer pastry, not to mention that it’s much easier on the blood sugar
  • Add them to your favourite salad (*rhubarb should be lightly sautéed first for optimal digestion and to remove some of its extreme tartness)

Be well!

Lisa Marie

Drop by Inspire for my free Nutrition Circle (IH members only) every other Thursday from 2:30-3:30pm (Next drop-in: Thursday June 30th at 2:30pm).

Contact me for a personal nutrition consultation @ 604.714.4065 or lbhattacharya@inspirehealth.ca

Check out my nutrition blog at: www.eatingitreal.blogspot.com for previously written healthy recipes and articles on eating healthfully.

My upcoming holistic nutrition handbook/cookbook is currently ‘in the works’. If you know anyone who may be interested in helping fund a cookbook with a focus on ‘healing with food as medicine’, please contact me at the above email or phone number.

[1] http://www.canadianliving.com/health/nutrition/top_10_superfoods_goji_berries_cinnamon_turmeric_and_more.php

[2] http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=32