There are a few places that elicit a reaction from me similar to that of a small child walking into a candy store. In no particular order, they are:
- Whole Foods
- Lululemon (obviously)
- Farmers’ markets
As much as I wish I could visit all of these on a weekly basis, my wallet is thankful for the fact that the nearest Whole Foods and Lululemon locations are an hour away (45 minutes if I drive fast in no traffic). Any closer and the pennies would be in real danger, and my Visa card would likely have melted by now. The market on the other hand, is a different story. One of the things I love most about my new office is that it”s situated approximately 3 minutes from one of the largest farmers’ markets in the region.
Since starting my new job, I’ve spent several lunch hours with my co-workers strolling the aisles, chatting with the farmers, and sampling their fresh produce – you know, just to make sure it’s not poison. 😉 The fruits and veggies either cost the same or less than at the grocery store, and they look SO much more fresh. I’m talking wax-free apples, no unnecessary plastic packaging, and greens that aren’t drenched in buckets of water. Does anyone else hate it when the sprinklers come on at Sobeys?
One of my most recent favourite finds has been the rhubarb. Its in-season period is very short (in fact, I think it’s just about done), so when it’s available, I stock up. Rhubarb might elicit memories of pies and sugar-loaded desserts, but there are so many other applications that are clean eating-friendly. It all starts with cooking your rhubarb, and that’s super easy to do. But first, let’s have a quick chat about why you should bother in the first place.
- Low in calories (only 26 per cup, raw)
- High in fiber
- Low in sugar
So how do you prepare it?
Well, I’m sure there are other methods but this is the one I use, and all you need are the following things:
- Rhubarb (duh)
- A knife and chopping board
- A large pot
- Stevia (or other natural sweetener if you’re not a fan of stevia)
Here’s what to do:
Step 1: Wash the rhubarb stalks and chop off any nasty looking ends and leaves.
Step 2: Chop the stalks into chunks between ½ and 1” wide.
Step 3: Place all the rhubarb in a large pot on the stove, and add a little bit of water. (I used 6 cups of rhubarb and 1 cup of water.)
Step 4: Partially cover the pot with a lid. Turn the heat on to medium, and allow the chunks to soften as the water gets hot. Let the rhubarb to cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally and more frequently towards the end to ensure that it doesn’t burn. Use the back of a large spoon or fork to mash the remaining chunks against the inside of the pot.
Step 5: Most of the rhubarb should now be a thick puree. Pour the contents of the pot into a large container and stir in sweetener to taste. (I used 3 stevia packets for my 6 cups of raw rhubarb, and this created a sweet-yet-still-tart taste).
Step 6: Allow the rhubarb to cool in the fridge. It will get thicker as it chills.
To sum it all up…
But now what do you do?
As I said, there are heaps of ways to use your cooked rhubarb but my current favourite is in the form of Rhubarb Frozen Yogurt Popsicles. For these, I mixed equal parts (3/4 cup each) plain fat-free Greek yogurt and cooked chilled rhubarb. (If you’re vegan or can’t do dairy, a coconut or almond-based yogurt would work just fine here too.) Then I froze them overnight, and in the morning, they looked like this:
A much cheaper and healthier alternative to frozen yogurt if you ask me! If popsicles aren’t your thing, you could also try…
- Topping your rhubarb with oats, chopped walnuts, and a sprinkle of brown sugar, then baking it in the oven until it”s golden on top.
- Baking it into muffins, in place of apple sauce or other fruit puree
- Spreading it on toast
- Layering it in a glass with other fruit, yogurt, and granola, parfait-style
So tell me…
- Are you a rhubarb fan?
- How do you like to enjoy it?