CHC CANADA 150 FOOD BLOG CHALLENGE Series
I am a proud Canadian. When the Culinary Historians of Canada invited food bloggers to participate in the “CHC Canada 150 Food Blog Challenge”, I knew that I wanted in! What a great way to celebrate and honour Canada’s 150th birthday by featuring a different Canadian dish or discussing a topic which reflects on what it means to be Canadian. This month: The First Fresh Foods of Spring! Savoury Rhubarb Apple Compote with Savoury Pork Medallions is the recipe that I will feature using fresh foods of spring.
It has been a long, cool, wet spring in British Columbia. The first few leaves of our rhubarb plants and perennial herbs assure me that spring has indeed arrived.
Rhubarb was a staple in the family gardens of 50 years ago – every home garden had its own rhubarb plant in the corner of the plot. When I was a child, my family and friends typically used rhubarb in sweet dishes. When the first tender stalks of rhubarb appeared, we would pick them and dip the thin red stalks in sugar for a delicious sweet and sour treat. Mom would make rhubarb and apple crumble or use the rhubarb in fruit compotes. As Spring passes into Summer, the broad rhubarb stalks became tough enough to use as hockey sticks. We would pull most of these remaining sturdy stalks and finely chop them to make stewed rhubarb. A bonus crop of more tender new stalks would develop from the plant as long as lots of water was applied during the hot dry summer months.
Gardens certainly have changed over the decades with smaller yards or no yards at all. Rhubarb is not a container garden type of plant with its big root system needing at least 40 litres of soil and compost. Today, fresh rhubarb is more difficult to find, although frozen rhubarb is readily available.
How we use rhubarb has, for the most part, remained unchanged over the years, with its continued use in sweet recipes such as rhubarb crumbles and crisps. Rhubarb has so much more to offer given its savoury properties. In this post, I share a recipe for Savoury Rhubarb Apple Compote with Pork Medallions that uses both rhubarb and chives as ingredients – two of the first fresh foods of spring.