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Rhubarb! #weekendcooking @BethFishReads

Rhubarb in the Garden

Although I am fond of it and it’s a perennial, which makes it easy to grow, rhubarb is an ugly plant, takes up a lot of space, has a short harvesting time, and last spring we didn’t do much with it. So, this year, I tried to pick some and use it in early spring when rhubarb, asparagus, and the ubiquitous mint are the only plants growing in the yard. (Raspberries soon!)

Here’s a picture of our two rhubarb plants after I hacked off many of the edible stalks, making it look even uglier than it already was:

Two rhubarb plants after hacking off many of the edible stalks

I killed our third rhubarb plant last year cutting it back too drastically, and I have also just found out that we shouldn’t be cutting the stalks off the plants, but gently twisting them off, so I hope these hardy perennials are hardy enough to withstand this additional mistreatment, and we’ll harvest our rhubarb correctly from now on.

Also, not all rhubarb is red! Did you know that?

I always thought rhubarb was a New England native vegetable, but it turns out it’s an Asian plant, according to Merriam-Webster.

Full Definition of rhubarb from Merriam-Webster

  1. any of a genus (Rheum) of Asian plants of the buckwheat family having large leaves with thick succulent petioles often used as food; also :  the petioles of rhubarb

  2. the dried rhizome and roots of any of several rhubarbs (as Rheum officinale and R. palmatum) grown in China and Tibet and used as a purgative and stomachic

  3. a heated dispute or controversy

Rhubarb Recipes I Tried

Fresh Summer Fruit Salad (AllRecipes)
I didn’t really follow this recipe, but wanted to see if I could use rhubarb in a fruit salad, so found out from this recipe that you can cook up chopped rhubarb in sugar water (just as you might do with cranberries) to make a sauce, and add then add it to fruit salad. Tasty!

Rhubarb Custard Ramekins (Nancy Guppy, Registered Dietician)
I used smaller custard cups to bake these, so came out with six instead of three. Otherwise, I followed the recipe exactly, except for maybe adding a little bit more nutmeg, and they were a hit. Even better warm, with a little whipped cream or vanilla ice cream on top.

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp Bars (Smitten Kitchen)
I substituted gluten-free flour in this recipe and had to use a larger-sized pan than called for, so they were a little thin. I also used a higher proportion of rhubarb to strawberries and added a little extra sugar to account for that.

Rhubarb Recipes I Want to Try

Almond Cake with Strawberry-Rhubarb Compote (Smitten Kitchen)

Gluten-Free Rhubarb, Lemon and Almond Cake (Food52)

Rhubarb, Cranberry and Thyme Crumble with Coconut Flour Oat Topping (Nancy Guppy, Registered DIetician) – Gluten-free

Rhubarb Frangipane Pie (The Splendid Table)

Vanilla Rhubarb Custard Bars (Cakes ‘n’ Bakes) – Gluten-free

Rhubarb is one of those plants that’s usually heavily sweetened and used as a fruit, often paired with strawberries for sweetness, in pies, jams, sauces, etc., but is actually not a fruit. (See rhubarbinfo.com for more about rhubarb.) I plan to investigate ways to use rhubarb in main dishes sometime, though. Maybe next spring!

Happy Weekend Cooking!

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12 thoughts on “Rhubarb! #weekendcooking @BethFishReads”

  1. How I love Rhubarb. I flew home on Lufthansa and they had two desserts with rhubarb. Both delicious. I just made a rhubarb pie for a dinner party we went to. I love it both for it needing so much sugar. I want to make that lemon cake with rhubarb.

  2. I just made rhubarb strawberry sauce because my husband loves it on vanilla ice cream. But those crisp bars and almond cake both sound so good. Add them to my try list.

  3. I’ve enjoyed rhubarb the few times I’ve had it, but Hawaii isn’t really the place to grow that plant, and we don’t usually see it in the market. Guava can be substituted for similar tart flavor, color and seasonality though.

  4. Can’t say I’m a rhubarb fan, but my uncle LOVED it. Whenever my aunt baked a rhubarb pie, he could eat the entire pie in one sitting.

  5. Wow! Those all look so good! I just planted rhubarb in the garden last year so it isn’t big enough yet to use. Another year or two should do it I hope!

    1. I think we started getting rhubarb after the first year waiting period, so the second spring. I really did kill one of the plants, though, and should have looked up how to cut it back before hacking away at it!

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