Happy Earth Day!  What are you doing for this holiday?  While that might not mean ‘day off work…’ it IS a reason to celebrate, for all that we do, eat, and live by is a result of how we nurture it.  Since my mission is all about ‘promoting a healthy appetite for a thriving planet,’ I thought it was only fitting that I devote this post to food as it relates to the earth (and, as you know, they are intricately connected.)

We had a most fascinating discussion in class the other day.  It was about seasonal eating by following the vegetable plant. Take the individual components of the plant and note how they grow at the same time.  For example, starting with the roots (carrots, parsnips, beets, onions, turnips) – these all grow in winter.  Followed by stems (celery, fennel, rhubarb) and flowers (asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower) which peak in spring, to fruits (tomatoes, avocado, eggplant, peppers) and seeds (peas, corn, green beans) which begin the cycle all over again.

When we eat our foods in peak season, we are not only benefiting from their freshness and flavor, but also the maximum nutrients they offer us.  And with regards to planet Earth, if we grow or buy our produce locally, we are keeping fossil fuels to a minimum and ensuring that diversity thrives in agriculture (like all those veggies listed above.)

Bringing it back to the kitchen, I am sharing one of my favorite spring recipes to celebrate the bounty which Earth so beautifully provides us.

Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp ~ Serves 8

Notes: In the photo, I used 1/2 cup crumbled gluten free ginger snaps instead of the oats.  The entire recipe is gluten free but as noted, you can use any whole grain flour instead.

1/2 C brown rice flour (any whole grain flour is fine)
1/4 C Sucanat*
1/2 C rolled oats
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp.  ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground allspice
1/2 C finely chopped walnuts or pecans
1 TB freshly orange zest
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
¼ C fresh squeezed orange juice

1 pound rhubarb, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 4 cups)
1 C fresh organic strawberries, sliced
3 TB agave nectar or honey
2 tsp. brown rice flour
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1. Mix all topping ingredients – except orange juice – in a medium bowl or food processor until mixture begins to clump together.  Add juice as needed.
2. Preheat oven to 400°. Combine all filling ingredients in a large bowl and toss well to coat. Transfer to an 8×8-inch glass or ceramic baking dish.
3. Crumble topping evenly over fruit. Bake until fruit is tender when pierced with a fork and topping is crisp, 30–35 minutes. At 20 minutes, cover with foil if necessary to keep topping from overbrowning. Cool 20 minutes before serving.

*Sucanat, or dehydrated cane juice, contains the vitamins and minerals needed for the body to digest sugar.  It is darker in color because it has not been denatured.  You can find it under the brand names of Sucanat and Rapunzel’s Rapadura. It can be substituted one for one with white sugar. Refined (granulated, white) sugar has been stripped of alkaline minerals and can have a jolting impact on the stomach and pancreas.


Savor the Earth and Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp — 9 Comments

  1. Looks like a great recipe. And the comments on roots, stems and fruits very interesting.
    Two questions:
    1. I assume berries are considered fruits. They seem to go summer-fall, no?
    2. Got a good current source for strawberries in the Napa Valley? I’ve been getting from all the usual suspects, and most are lousy. Just too early, I guess.

    Mick Winters last blog post..Napa Green Drinks – May 6

  2. Mick,
    Yes, berries are fruits in spring and summer but I agree with you about the strawberries here right now. That’s why I use them in a baked dish with the spring veggie rhubarb.

  3. Fascinating concept of the vegetable plant with root, stem, flower,…! I like that a lot!
    Yes, too early for sweet ripe Napa strawberries.

  4. Long Meadow Ranch/Rutherford Gardens now has delicious organic strawberries.
    Available Fridays at the St. Helena Farmers Market and Saturday at Long Meadow Ranch’s outside tasting counter at 738 Main St., SH!!!!

  5. Pingback: Coffee: The Good News | Vegetarian diet Blog

  6. Growing up in Canada I found the comments absurdly funny.Because of the short growing season everything gets planted as soon as possible. We don’t begin with root vegetables, we end with them as they are the reserves the plant has built.We can take them out of the ground way after everything else has finished. In California if you want great veggies you have to grow them yourself.Growers only grow tomatoes and all manner of product bred or modified to go great distances,or chemically nuked to make them look uniform and pretty, even if they are grown around the corner(Watsonville, Salinas, Sacramento Valley)Commercial produce is a bland inferior experience compared to a carefully tended garden (yes you can do this yourself!)I have driven behind huge trucks dodging the bright red tomatoes bouncing all over the road.Tomatoes should not bounce and then roll!Even at farmer’s markets you are still getting commercial crops. Its not even close to what our parents and grandparents ate. Sorry to burst the bubble. Even the strawbs are bred tend to be huge and yes quite tasteless.Produce is picked before it matures and ethylene gas is used to prompt it to visually ripen.If you have grown up in an urban setting then you have never tasted real food,just commercially grown food,unless you can drive out to a farm(not a roadside fruit stand!)and pick it how could you even know what you have been missing?

  7. Deliabird – There are many factors which play a part in seasonality and taste. Growing conditions, soil type, use of chemicals, to name a few. I choose to look at pro-active solutions, beyond highlighting the negative.
    Karen´s last blog post ..Curried Onion Bisque with GheeMy Profile

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