A Magazine About Food, Art & Exchange In Midtown Kingston, Published By The Hudson Valley Current.

Nature of Exchange Dinners: June 2021

Summer is in the air, and with it’s arrival comes the fabulous seasonal produce the Hudson Valley is famous for. Join Tilda’s chefs every Friday in June to celebrate one of these special ingredients. 

The feature for June 4 will be rhubarb. This easy to grow perennial is technically a vegetable, but is most commonly prepared like a fruit. Rhubarb (or the great yellow as it is known in China due to size and color of its roots) appears in late spring. Rhubarb is a cultivated plant in the polygonaceae family. It is herbaceous (meaning it has fleshy stems that die back to the ground each winter) perennial growing from thick rhizomes. The roots were historically used in medicine and it wasn’t until much later that the fleshy leaf stalks were eaten. The large, triangular leaves are very high in oxalic acid, making them inedible. 

The color of rhubarb stalks differ according to the variety as well as how it was grown. The cherry red stalks you see in the grocery stores typically come from hot houses, but the light pink or green varieties are usually locally grown. Like strawberries, the red color comes from anthocyanins, a naturally occurring antioxidant, which makes rhubarb a super healthy food. Rhubarb is also high in fiber and potassium. 

Originally from China, rhubarb made its way to Greece and then eventually was imported along the Silk Road—reaching Europe in the 14th century. It was a costly product given the expense of transportation in medieval Europe. Because of the high prices and increasing demand for its medicinal roots, new species were developed in England. Suddenly, an abundance of plants and the decreasing cost of sugar in the 18th century led to the discovery of the palatability of the fleshy stalks making the usage of rhubarb as food a recent innovation.

On Friday, June 11, the chosen ingredient is the natural partner of rhubarb, the strawberry. 

The Naragansett Native American word for strawberry—wuttahimneash—translates to heart-seed berry. The scientific name is Fragaria ananassa, which refers to its sweet fragrance. The strawberry we know and love today is a cultivated plant (in the rose family) that can be traced back to 18th century Europe. A hybrid of the North American and a Chilean variety is the precursor of all cultivated strawberries today. As the first fruit to ripen in the spring, they are not technically “berries”, but rather referred to as “accessory” fruits. Berries have their seeds within the skin wall, but strawberries have their seeds on the exterior membrane. The strawberry does not develop from the plant’s ovary, but from the receptacle that holds the ovaries. Each seed is actually one of the ovaries of the flower, with a seed inside of it and there are an average of 200 seeds on each berry. Strawberries can be grown from seed, but it’s much more successful to propagate by runners, which grow off the mother plant. Strawberries are perennials and can produce for up to five years. 

On June 18, our chefs will be preparing a unique ingredient, which is often considered a by- product, not worthy of eating—garlic scapes. Garlic produces a hermaphrodite flower called a “scape”, which is lovingly pollinated by bees and butterflies. Bulbils form within the terminal pod at the end of the flower stalk and these can be eaten or planted. Harvesting this stalk in the spring before it has a chance to bloom is the key to producing larger heads. It lets all the energy go back into the plant and increases the bulb size. The scape is an amazing treat in the spring. Eaten raw or sauteed, it has a delicate garlic flavor prized by all who love garlic.
Broccoli will be the featured ingredient on June 25. This vegetable resulted from breeding of native Brassica crops in the northern Mediterranean starting in about the sixth century BCE.  Broccoli has its origins in primitive cultivars grown in the Roman Empire and was most likely improved through artificial selection in southern Italy or in Sicily. It was spread to northern Europe by the 18th century and brought to North America in the 19th century by Italian immigrants. After the Second World War, breeding of United States and Japanese hybrids increased yields and uniformity, which produced the cultivars that we most commonly grow today. The entire plant is edible, but is mainly grown for its green (or purple) flower head. Broccoli is at its best when harvested before the average daily temperatures rise above 80℉. The heat causes the buds to open and little yellow flowers form. The leaves and stem begin to toughen and bitter.

Summer is in the air, and with it’s arrival comes the fabulous seasonal produce the Hudson Valley is famous for. Join Tilda’s chefs every Friday in June to celebrate one of these special ingredients. 

The feature for June 4 will be rhubarb. This easy to grow perennial is technically a vegetable, but is most commonly prepared like a fruit. Rhubarb (or the great yellow as it is known in China due to size and color of its roots) appears in late spring. Rhubarb is a cultivated plant in the polygonaceae family. It is herbaceous (meaning it has fleshy stems that die back to the ground each winter) perennial growing from thick rhizomes. The roots were historically used in medicine and it wasn’t until much later that the fleshy leaf stalks were eaten. The large, triangular leaves are very high in oxalic acid, making them inedible. 

The color of rhubarb stalks differ according to the variety as well as how it was grown. The cherry red stalks you see in the grocery stores typically come from hot houses, but the light pink or green varieties are usually locally grown. Like strawberries, the red color comes from anthocyanins, a naturally occurring antioxidant, which makes rhubarb a super healthy food. Rhubarb is also high in fiber and potassium. 

Originally from China, rhubarb made its way to Greece and then eventually was imported along the Silk Road—reaching Europe in the 14th century. It was a costly product given the expense of transportation in medieval Europe. Because of the high prices and increasing demand for its medicinal roots, new species were developed in England. Suddenly, an abundance of plants and the decreasing cost of sugar in the 18th century led to the discovery of the palatability of the fleshy stalks making the usage of rhubarb as food a recent innovation.

On Friday, June 11, the chosen ingredient is the natural partner of rhubarb, the strawberry. 

The Naragansett Native American word for strawberry—wuttahimneash—translates to heart-seed berry. The scientific name is Fragaria ananassa, which refers to its sweet fragrance. The strawberry we know and love today is a cultivated plant (in the rose family) that can be traced back to 18th century Europe. A hybrid of the North American and a Chilean variety is the precursor of all cultivated strawberries today. As the first fruit to ripen in the spring, they are not technically “berries”, but rather referred to as “accessory” fruits. Berries have their seeds within the skin wall, but strawberries have their seeds on the exterior membrane. The strawberry does not develop from the plant’s ovary, but from the receptacle that holds the ovaries. Each seed is actually one of the ovaries of the flower, with a seed inside of it and there are an average of 200 seeds on each berry. Strawberries can be grown from seed, but it’s much more successful to propagate by runners, which grow off the mother plant. Strawberries are perennials and can produce for up to five years. 

On June 18, our chefs will be preparing a unique ingredient, which is often considered a by- product, not worthy of eating—garlic scapes. Garlic produces a hermaphrodite flower called a “scape”, which is lovingly pollinated by bees and butterflies. Bulbils form within the terminal pod at the end of the flower stalk and these can be eaten or planted. Harvesting this stalk in the spring before it has a chance to bloom is the key to producing larger heads. It lets all the energy go back into the plant and increases the bulb size. The scape is an amazing treat in the spring. Eaten raw or sauteed, it has a delicate garlic flavor prized by all who love garlic.
Broccoli will be the featured ingredient on June 25. This vegetable resulted from breeding of native Brassica crops in the northern Mediterranean starting in about the sixth century BCE.  Broccoli has its origins in primitive cultivars grown in the Roman Empire and was most likely improved through artificial selection in southern Italy or in Sicily. It was spread to northern Europe by the 18th century and brought to North America in the 19th century by Italian immigrants. After the Second World War, breeding of United States and Japanese hybrids increased yields and uniformity, which produced the cultivars that we most commonly grow today. The entire plant is edible, but is mainly grown for its green (or purple) flower head. Broccoli is at its best when harvested before the average daily temperatures rise above 80℉. The heat causes the buds to open and little yellow flowers form. The leaves and stem begin to toughen and bitter.

Summer is in the air, and with it’s arrival comes the fabulous seasonal produce the Hudson Valley is famous for. Join Tilda’s chefs every Friday in June to celebrate one of these special ingredients. 

The feature for June 4 will be rhubarb. This easy to grow perennial is technically a vegetable, but is most commonly prepared like a fruit. Rhubarb (or the great yellow as it is known in China due to size and color of its roots) appears in late spring. Rhubarb is a cultivated plant in the polygonaceae family. It is herbaceous (meaning it has fleshy stems that die back to the ground each winter) perennial growing from thick rhizomes. The roots were historically used in medicine and it wasn’t until much later that the fleshy leaf stalks were eaten. The large, triangular leaves are very high in oxalic acid, making them inedible. 

The color of rhubarb stalks differ according to the variety as well as how it was grown. The cherry red stalks you see in the grocery stores typically come from hot houses, but the light pink or green varieties are usually locally grown. Like strawberries, the red color comes from anthocyanins, a naturally occurring antioxidant, which makes rhubarb a super healthy food. Rhubarb is also high in fiber and potassium. 

Originally from China, rhubarb made its way to Greece and then eventually was imported along the Silk Road—reaching Europe in the 14th century. It was a costly product given the expense of transportation in medieval Europe. Because of the high prices and increasing demand for its medicinal roots, new species were developed in England. Suddenly, an abundance of plants and the decreasing cost of sugar in the 18th century led to the discovery of the palatability of the fleshy stalks making the usage of rhubarb as food a recent innovation.

On Friday, June 11, the chosen ingredient is the natural partner of rhubarb, the strawberry. 

The Naragansett Native American word for strawberry—wuttahimneash—translates to heart-seed berry. The scientific name is Fragaria ananassa, which refers to its sweet fragrance. The strawberry we know and love today is a cultivated plant (in the rose family) that can be traced back to 18th century Europe. A hybrid of the North American and a Chilean variety is the precursor of all cultivated strawberries today. As the first fruit to ripen in the spring, they are not technically “berries”, but rather referred to as “accessory” fruits. Berries have their seeds within the skin wall, but strawberries have their seeds on the exterior membrane. The strawberry does not develop from the plant’s ovary, but from the receptacle that holds the ovaries. Each seed is actually one of the ovaries of the flower, with a seed inside of it and there are an average of 200 seeds on each berry. Strawberries can be grown from seed, but it’s much more successful to propagate by runners, which grow off the mother plant. Strawberries are perennials and can produce for up to five years. 

On June 18, our chefs will be preparing a unique ingredient, which is often considered a by- product, not worthy of eating—garlic scapes. Garlic produces a hermaphrodite flower called a “scape”, which is lovingly pollinated by bees and butterflies. Bulbils form within the terminal pod at the end of the flower stalk and these can be eaten or planted. Harvesting this stalk in the spring before it has a chance to bloom is the key to producing larger heads. It lets all the energy go back into the plant and increases the bulb size. The scape is an amazing treat in the spring. Eaten raw or sauteed, it has a delicate garlic flavor prized by all who love garlic.
Broccoli will be the featured ingredient on June 25. This vegetable resulted from breeding of native Brassica crops in the northern Mediterranean starting in about the sixth century BCE.  Broccoli has its origins in primitive cultivars grown in the Roman Empire and was most likely improved through artificial selection in southern Italy or in Sicily. It was spread to northern Europe by the 18th century and brought to North America in the 19th century by Italian immigrants. After the Second World War, breeding of United States and Japanese hybrids increased yields and uniformity, which produced the cultivars that we most commonly grow today. The entire plant is edible, but is mainly grown for its green (or purple) flower head. Broccoli is at its best when harvested before the average daily temperatures rise above 80℉. The heat causes the buds to open and little yellow flowers form. The leaves and stem begin to toughen and bitter.