Celery’s Blushing Bride.
Before I became known as the “Fruit Lady” I had many (embarrassing) misconceptions about produce.
Like I never connected those green peas that came out of a can and the same cool crunchy ones that my dad used to shuck from the pods. Butternut squash cubes was some sort of orange hard tofu, no? And my favorite rhubarb compote came from rhubarb, a bagged item and sitting in the frozen food section.
Kinda “green” in the vegetable department. (I can hear your groans.)
The first time I had rhubarb, as we call the strawberry compote, was at my husband”s job. He worked for many years as a manager in a catering firm. Nechama Katz of Elite Caterers is known for her super fruit soup and incredible cranberry apple crisp (both of which graced my wedding menu meal). elitecaterers.com. But she often sent home quarts for me to enjoy.
When my husband and I changed careers she was kind enough to share her recipe.
“Don’t worry Chaia, you can find rhubarb easily in the frozen food section.”
So off I went to shop for ingredients.
My rhubarb came out great, but I wanted to make it just like Mrs. Katz, with fresh ingredients. Strawberries were easy enough to find. But rhubarb? That only came frozen, right?
My first encounter with rhubarb had me cautiously eyeing what I quickly nicknamed “celery’s blushing bride.” It looked like a red celery, does it behave like one?
Seems like their physical similarities are the end of their connections.
According to askAndy.com, “Celery belongs to the parsnip family, Umbelliferae, while rhubarb belongs to the buckwheat family, Polygonaceae. Celery is an annual plant, but rhubarb is one of the few vegetables that produces from year to year.”
It’s very low in cholesterol. It is also a good source of magnesium, and a very good source of dietary fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, calcium, potassium and manganese.
Beware if you choose to grow it yourself. There are parts of the plant that rare poisonous for consumption.(Another good reason for me to to frozen, not much of a green thumb.)
Who knew? Then there’s the fact that most people don’t eat celery compote, or celery pie, or celery muffins. But rhubarb”s tart taste complements all of the aforementioned foods, so alas, I might have coined it celery”s bride, but the shidduch might be doomed from the start.
Though both celery and rhubarb can be pickled, should you choose to, and they can also be sautéed with some vegetables to enhance a chicken dish, I like them good and sweet in my strawberry compote. So a variation on Mrs. Katz’s recipe is what I will share with you.
Strawberry Rhubarb Compote
1 bag frozen Rhubarb
3 cups strawberries, washed and checked.
1/2 cup sugar (optional)
1 box strawberry or raspberry flavored jello
1. In three quart pot place rhubarb and strawberries (and sugar).
2. On medium flame cook rhubarb and strawberries till both are soft and easily mashable with the back of a spoon. Remove from flame. (I would recommend you turn off the fire, but hey, it’s your house, do what you like…)
3. Slowly pour contents of jello packet and incorporate into contents of pot.
4. Let cool and refrigerate till jelled.