Recipes

Tart and tasty

How do you cook fresh rhubarb? What do you do with the leaves?

Sugar savvy

What is the difference between honey and sugar? Is one healthier than the other?

Taste and texture are the main differences between honey and sugar. Granulated white sugar is refined cane or beet sugar. Brown sugar is white sugar combined with molasses to give it a soft moist texture. Honey is a thick sweet liquid that bees make from flower nectar.

Deciding between sugar and honey is strictly a matter of taste. But just because bees make honey doesn’t mean it’s any healthier than sugar. At 65 calories per tbsp (15 mL), honey has more calories than both brown sugar (35 calories per tbsp) and white sugar (49 calories per tbsp).

Catch great taste with honey and vinegar. Try our honey-sweetened Balsamic salmon.

Soft serve

How can I soften brown sugar once it’s gone hard?

If your brown sugar looks more like a rocky moonscape than moist sand, add a slice of apple, a knob of ginger or a piece of bread to the container. Within a few hours, the hard clumps will soften and break up easily. If you need the sugar immediately, use the microwave. Place sugar in a microwave-safe bowl and heat on high, stopping every 20 seconds to break up clumps.

I use a ceramic disc to keep my brown sugar soft. The discs are inexpensive and available in most kitchen stores. Just soak one in water and store it in the sugar container. (Hint: resoak disc every few months.)

Soften up brown sugar and make life sweet again with a stack of Blueberry pancakes.

Make beautiful music

What are fiddleheads?

Fiddleheads are young ferns with tiny tightly-coiled shoots that resemble the spiral end of a fiddle. The shoots only remain coiled for about two weeks, making their season very short – so keep your eyes peeled for fiddleheads come spring. Choose shoots that are dark green and firm to the touch, with a diameter of about 1.5 inches (3.5 cm). Fiddleheads taste most like asparagus and are best steamed or lightly boiled. Dress them up with butter, lemon or – if you’re feeling decadent – a cheesy cream sauce.

Tart and tasty

How do you cook fresh rhubarb? What do you do with the leaves?

The beautiful ruby-red stalks are the only edible part of the rhubarb plant. The leaves contain toxic oxalic acid, so never eat them. To cook rhubarb, discard leaves and wash stalks well. If the stalks have gone limp, perk them up in a bath of cold water – they’ll firm up fast.

Rhubarb is delicious when used fresh in pies and tarts or when stewed and spooned over pancakes, ice cream or cheesecake. To stew rhubarb, slice raw stalks into small pieces and simmer in water, juice or liquor (brandy or Grand Marnier work well) with sugar for 5 to 10 minutes or until tender. Try using 3 cups (750 mL) chopped rhubarb, 2 tbsp (30 mL) water, juice or liqueur and 1/4 cup (50 mL) sugar.

Put on your baker’s cap and treat your friends to a batch of rosy Rhubarb upside-down cakes.

Tart and tasty

How do you cook fresh rhubarb? What do you do with the leaves?

The beautiful ruby-red stalks are the only edible part of the rhubarb plant. The leaves contain toxic oxalic acid, so never eat them. To cook rhubarb, discard leaves and wash stalks well. If the stalks have gone limp, perk them up in a bath of cold water – they’ll firm up fast.

Rhubarb is delicious when used fresh in pies and tarts or when stewed and spooned over pancakes, ice cream or cheesecake. To stew rhubarb, slice raw stalks into small pieces and simmer in water, juice or liquor (brandy or Grand Marnier work well) with sugar for 5 to 10 minutes or until tender. Try using 3 cups (750 mL) chopped rhubarb, 2 tbsp (30 mL) water, juice or liqueur and 1/4 cup (50 mL) sugar.

Put on your baker’s cap and treat your friends to a batch of rosy Rhubarb upside-down cakes.

Tart and tasty

How do you cook fresh rhubarb? What do you do with the leaves?

The beautiful ruby-red stalks are the only edible part of the rhubarb plant. The leaves contain toxic oxalic acid, so never eat them. To cook rhubarb, discard leaves and wash stalks well. If the stalks have gone limp, perk them up in a bath of cold water – they’ll firm up fast.

Rhubarb is delicious when used fresh in pies and tarts or when stewed and spooned over pancakes, ice cream or cheesecake. To stew rhubarb, slice raw stalks into small pieces and simmer in water, juice or liquor (brandy or Grand Marnier work well) with sugar for 5 to 10 minutes or until tender. Try using 3 cups (750 mL) chopped rhubarb, 2 tbsp (30 mL) water, juice or liqueur and 1/4 cup (50 mL) sugar.

Put on your baker’s cap and treat your friends to a batch of rosy Rhubarb upside-down cakes.

Come back next Monday for another food problem solved!