July 2010

Hope not too many of you have suffered with the kind of humidity we've had here in Ontario in the past week. I don't function well at all, and the last 4 or 5 days have been pretty draining to say the least.

Comes with the territory of the Seasons though, and I suppose I wouldn't have it any other way.

Sundae With A Twist

Rhubarb Strawberry Sundae

1 pound hulled and quartered strawberries
2 1/2 cups chopped rhubarb
1/2 cup white sugar
1/3 cup water
storebought shortbread cookies
vanilla ice cream

Combine rhubarb, strawberries and sugar with the water.
Simmer while stirring on high heat approx. 7 or 8 minutes.

Remove from heat, let cool and refrigerate.

Spoon over scooped vanilla ice cream, and shortbread.


McKees Mill, a community in New Brunswick in Eastern Canada, reports their Rhubarb Festival or Rhubarb "Fete" was a great success.

As well as a barbecue, canteen, yard sale with Celtic music playing in the background, there were rhubarb pies and rhubarb cakes for sale. As many as 300 pies were available on the day of the sale, thanks to as many as 15 volunteers making it all come together.

Imagine co-ordinating the baking of that many pies the day before the sale?

It was a great day and a great event, which raised almost $5,000 towards the renovations of the McKees Mill Community Hall. Job well done!

This event is attracting more people every year from surrounding communities, so do keep McKees Mill in mind, if you are in those parts.

Also successful, the Duluth 6th Annual Rhubarb Festival saw as many as 900 rhubarb pies, crisps, jams and bread sold.

Organisers say it takes at least 700 pounds of rhubarb and as many as 500 volunteers to make this event go off without a hitch.

All proceeds go to the CHUM center, which helps people get off the street and find resources and assistance related to poverty and homelessness in the area.

Garden Share - Westville Illinois (Faith In Action South)

Heard of this? It is a free Farmer's Market started by someone who wondered how to make better use of a large parking lot.

This is free produce, available to eligible seniors who don't have a garden due to lack of space, health reasons, or financial constraints because of fixed incomes.

The program encourages healthier eating for seniors and provides some recipe books as well. It also encourages eliminating waste from gardens.

Produce is dropped off by local growers, lots of rhubarb included, and people are able to choose what they need.

Fay Sandidge, an active volunteer and customer is very happy with the pies she was able to make from the rhubarb she got. One was a strawberry and a raisin mixed with rhubarb that reminded her of pies her mother used to make. And that's what many seniors miss - fresh produce they grew up with.

If someone you know could benefit from this program, please let them know it's at 302 State Street North.

In the interests of healthier eating, want to reduce the sugar you add to your rhubarb?

Most recipes call for at least a cup added when cooking down your rhubarb as compote. Some people feel this is still too much.

Try cooking down your rhubarb first as you normally would, without the added sweeteners. Once broken down, experiment with a spoonful of sugar to start. It may still be tart, but you may find you prefer this to overly sickeningly sweet.

There are other sweeteners you can use instead. Honey, white grape juice, apple juice, orange juice, splenda, agave, stevia, corn syrup, and applesauce are all possibles to add towards the end of the cooking times in small amounts. Additional fruits like mashed banana or berries make up for the sweetness too.

Many people report cutting their sugar called for by one third, and think they could have gone further. There is also the trick of soaking your chopped rhubarb in a bit of water and baking soda first. The water will turn grey, as the baking soda is neutralizing some of the tartness and acidity. This enables you to reduce the sugar you have to add.

Low Sugar Crumble

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F

4 cups chopped rhubarb
1 pint sliced strawberries
1 tblsp. honey

Mix the above ingredients and place in a shallow baking dish.

1 cup oats
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter
1 tsp. cinnamon

Combine the oats, brown sugar and cinnamon. Mix in the butter until crumbly, and spread over the top of the rhubarb mixture.

Bake for 40 minutes until rhubarb is tender and the top is golden. Serve warm.

A nice Rhubarb Puree

1 cup chopped rhubarb
1 cup chopped up strawberries
1/3 cup chopped dates
1 1/2 tblsp. ginger
Juice of half of an orange

Process in a food processor, and refrigerate overnight.

Looking for a little appetizer?

If you like the combinations of sour, fruity, and blue cheese, Kelly over at Pink Apron has a great idea for your rhubarb chutney.

Rhubarb Chutney & Blue Cheese Toasts

Until next time,




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