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Articles - Gourmet Pleasures:

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Strawberries and rhubarb – delicious together
and apart

The sharp taste of rhubarb blends smoothly with the distinctive flavour of strawberries to create unforgettable flavours for fruit tarts, desserts and jams and even savoury dishes. Dairy products like cream, yoghurt or buttermilk work against the acidity of the rhubarb and emphasise the summery flavour of the strawberries – for example in an ice parfait or milk shake, or in a fruit fool. And vanilla sauce is the perfect accompaniment to stewed rhubarb with strawberries.

Give your creativity free rein!

Puree a few chunks of rhubarb and strawberries and mix them with pepper, vanilla, oil and vinegar to make a delicate vinaigrette for a green salad that tastes of summer. Or make a fresh chutney to eat with beef, venison or fish or with goat’s milk cheese, vegetables and even with a cream of asparagus soup. To make the chutney, simmer vinegar and sugar until you have a syrup, then add chopped rhubarb and strawberries and simmer until the chutney thickens.

What to look for when you’re shopping for

Buy strawberries that look and smell ripe – they should be deep red and they should have an intense sweet and fruity aroma. Unripe strawberries have very little aroma and are hard and pallid. Check that the berries are fresh and that there are no mouldy fruit at the bottom of the punnet. For the very best quality and the fullest flavour choose strawberries grown locally in the true strawberry season, that is between May and July. They’ll have ripened in the fields and they won’t have travelled long distances to reach you.

Rhubarb is easy to cook

You can tell rhubarb is fresh by checking that the stalks are firm and glossy and that the cut ends don’t look dried and old. Today’s rhubarb varieties usually don’t need peeling, though you might want to remove the fibrous strands from the bottom of the stalk. Then cut the stalks into pieces and simmer them with honey or add them to your rhubarb cake. Fresh rhubarb will keep for several days in the vegetable drawer of your fridge.


Source: Heike Kreutz, www.aid.de