Kate Krader (@kkrader on Twitter) is Food & Wine's restaurant editor. When she tells us where to find our culinary heart's desire, we listen up.
This gorgeous spring weather triggers so many thoughts and emotions. It could make you daydream about weekend beach getaways, lolling around in a hammock, fresh produce - hey, isn't rhubarb in season? A fresh pie sounds just delicious - and wouldn't it be so much prettier if you included a few of those lovely leaves?
Don’t do it, unless you're planning on making this your last meal. Rhubarb leaves are poisonous, raw or cooked (they contain a not-good-for-you substance - oxalic acid). The stalk isn’t toxic, although it’s crazy tart if it’s not cooked and somehow sweetened up. Here are a couple of other ingredients to avoid - or at least moderate your consumption of - this season.
Or, if you’re enterprising, save them. According to Michigan Cherry Pit Recyclers, cherry pits burn hotter than wood pellets and leave almost no ash. Plus, it’s cheap fuel - at least if you’ve been eating a lot of cherries.
Here’s what the terrific website Serious Eats had to say on the subject: "Like some other habit-forming items, Sichuan peppercorns are actually toxic when ingested in large quantities." But Dr. Andrew Weil thinks otherwise: “Their toxicity appears to be minimal.”
Kristin used nuts imported from China; however, USDA scientists tested the DNA of 45 sample pine nuts and couldn’t get a definitive source for Pine Mouth, which means I can’t offer you one either. I just hope it doesn’t stop you from making pesto this season.
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