a change in seasons

Rhubarb is slowly disappearing from the markets. The stalks are getting softer and their colour does not seem as bright as when the season began. I grew up with a patch of rhubarb in the backyard. As kids we sometimes ate it straight from the plant. We crunched at it and were known to put a sprinkle of sugar between bites.

There is something about seasonal eating that feels so harmonious. Beyond the obvious aspect of eating what is currently growing, I feel like major life changes often match the rises and drops in temperature and the growing seasons that follow. As spring became summer I left one country for another. I get to know a region best through its markets and grocery stores. Farmer's markets and local produce introduce me to new cities and to new life rhythms. I find that cooking helps me adjust to change the most.

Living in France made me obsessed with all products from Bonne Maman. Yes, their jam is probably the best, but it was their rhubarb compote that truly got me hooked. In France I learned that all meals other than breakfast should be followed with dessert (and many French breakfasts resemble dessert). This dessert need not be baked, or even prepared in advance. Yogurt, fresh fruit, compote, cheese, and fromage frais are all suitable options for dessert. It wasn't long until my dessert of choice became plain yogurt with a generous blob of rhubarb compote. Adding some fresh ginger makes rhubarb compote all the more addictive.

Rhubarb and Ginger Compote


4 cups rhubarb (about 6-8 stalks) cut into 1/4 inch pieces
1/2 - 3/4 cup unrefined sugar
the juice of half a lemon
1 - 2 tbsp fresh ginger, finely chopped

In a large saucepan combine the rhubarb, sugar, lemon juice and ginger. Over medium heat, stir everything together until the sugar dissolves. Reduce heat and cover. Simmer rhubarb until tender, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Cover and refrigerate. Can be kept in the fridge for a few days.


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