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Rhubarb and Asparagus – Harbingers of the Season

April 6, 2018, 12:00 am



Happy days are here! It’s time for us to dust off the ‘local’ signs in produce because the asparagus and rhubarb has arrived!

Rhubarb is also called the “pie plant,” and the stalks, soft and delectable when baked, do make a divine pie filling. But pie is by no means the only way to experience rhubarb. This tart vegetable is as delicious in a savory dish as it is in a sweet one. As a child I remember dipping the sour stalks into white table sugar and eating it raw. Take advantage of it while it’s here. Make a sauce or a pie or a cobbler perhaps. Here is a Martha Stewart recipe for a rhubarb salad:

Rhubarb Salad with Goat Cheese

3/4 pound rhubarb, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup walnut halves
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (preferably white)
Coarse salt and ground pepper
4 bunches arugula (about 1 pound total), tough ends removed
1 fennel bulb, cored and thinly sliced crosswise
1/2 cup fresh goat cheese, crumbled

Preheat oven to 450 degrees, with racks in upper and lower thirds. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss rhubarb with honey. Roast on upper rack until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Let cool on baking sheet. On another rimmed baking sheet, toast walnuts on lower rack until fragrant, 5 minutes. Let cool, then chop.

In a large bowl, whisk together oil and vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Add arugula and fennel and toss to combine. Top with rhubarb, walnuts, and goat cheese.

Asparagus, like rhubarb, is a perennial vegetable. A stand of asparagus can produce for 20 years or more. Ancient Romans were probably the first to cultivate asparagus on a large scale. Thankfully this tasty spear is still going strong and when asparagus is ready, we know that other fine garden goodies can’t be far behind.

Here is another recipe from Gourmet Magazine:

Asparagus with Wasabi Mayonnaise Dip

3 lb thin to medium asparagus, trimmed
1 cup mayonnaise
4 teaspoons tamari
1 1/2 teaspoons natural cane sugar
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons wasabi paste

Blanch asparagus in 2 batches in a large saucepan of boiling salted water 1 minute. Transfer to a colander and rinse under cold running water to stop cooking. Drain well and pat dry. Whisk together mayonnaise, soy sauce, sugar, lemon juice, and wasabi paste until sugar is dissolved. Serve asparagus with dip.

Posted by Oryana at 12:00 am
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