For many of us, it’s been a long and gloomy winter. In all honesty, I’ve never let the weather get me down. Maybe it’s because I’ve lived most my life on the west coast, where darker rainy skies are just something you grow accustomed to in the winter months. But I’m also a big believer in the old adage, “you can’t change the weather.” In fact, I often take it a step further and truly embrace and celebrate the weather! We need rain for growth, and we need clouds for rain. We need cold days to appreciate the warmth, and sometimes it’s nice to curl up with a blanket, light a few candles, sip on some tea and hunker down with a good book or your favourite TV series. But it can be trying when that hibernation season starts in October and caries on…and on…and on…until you’re nearing May and have forgotten what sunshine on skin feels like.
So it’s no surprise that during these last couple weeks when the sun has started showing her face again, the city I call home has come alive. People are eating on patios, flooding into the streets, even braving the beaches, even though it’s still pretty brisk out. Not only has the human population of Victoria burst forward, but the spring bounty has sprung as well!
One of my favourite markers of this time of year is the first rhubarb harvest.
In addition to the delightfully tangy taste, rhubarb has been linked to weight balance, cardiovascular health, digestive ease, bone strength, cancer prevention, improved circulation, and even prevention of diseases such as Alzheimer’s due to its high levels of vitamin K. It’s important to note, however, that this only pertains to the stocks and the laves contain extremely high levels of oxalic acid and therefore run the risk of potential toxicity.
But back to the happy stuff…
One of the most classic ways of enjoying rhubarb is to counter the tartness with the sweet and fragrant friendship of strawberries. This undeniably delicious combo is fantastic for making tarts, cakes, cobblers, pies, tonics, even syrups! But one of my favourite forms of rhubarb is a simple compote that can be enjoyed with grass-fed yoghurt, on top of your chia pudding or porridge, or even just with a dollop of whipped cream (or whipped coconut cream for you dairy-free folks out there).
Recipe: Overnight Chia Pudding
Recipe: 5-Minute Hot Quinoa Flake Cereal
Below is a seriously simple, but oh-so-yummy strawberry rhubarb compote, served with whipped lemon-vanilla coconut cream for a light and lovely dessert to enjoy on those sunny spring afternoons....
Strawberry Rhubarb Compote with Lemon-Vanilla Whipped Coconut Cream
Prep time: About 5 minutes
Cook time: About 2-30 minutes
Makes roughly 6 servings
For the compote…
- 2 1/2 cups strawberries, cut into quarters
- 2 1/2 cups rhubarb, cut into 1/4-1/2 inch thick slices
- 1 tblsp fresh lemon juice
- 2 tblsp raw honey
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- A pinch of sea salt
- 2 tblsp coconut oil
- Heat a saucepan stovetop on medium heat, and melt the coconut oil.
- Add the chopped strawberry and rhubarb, and cook covered for about 5-10 minutes, until soft.
- Add in the rest of the ingredients, give it a good stir, bring to a boil, and then almost immediately turn the heat down to simmer and let it cook for another 10 minutes or so longer (uncovered), stirring frequently.
- Turn off the heat, let sit for a few more minutes until it cools fully, and enjoy!
For the lemon-vanilla whipped coconut cream…
- 2 cups very thick coconut cream (the stuff at the top of can)
- 1-2 tblsp fresh lemon juice (spending on how lemon-y you like it)
- 2 tblsp raw honey (or less if you don’t like it so sweet)
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 tblsp lemon rind
- In an electric mixer (like a KitchenAid) with the whipping attachment, whip coconut cream until fluffy (about 30 seconds or so). Make sure not to over whip it though! Stop as soon as the texture is light, but not before it gets liquid-y.
- Slowly add in other ingredients except the lemon rind, until well incorporated.
- Fold in lemon rind and serve, or store in the fridge until ready to enjoy.