What is with this weather? Here I thought spring had really arrived only to have March return. Cold. Wind. Rain. Maybe it’s El Nino? I wasn’t too excited about being out in the cold wind, but a surprise visit from Manda, Joel, Liz & Caleb made this blustery day so much better!
Here in the mid-Atlantic region, rhubarb is the first fruit of the season. Technically it’s a vegetable, but since it is typically used is sweet cooking, it is classified as a fruit. Sadly, it doesn’t get a lot of credit. Few people think of rhubarb when they think of fruit (or even food in general) and those who do tend to think of it only in relation to strawberries.
I admit I don’t know much about rhubarb. While I’ve always had a vague knowledge of its existence, my first taste of rhubarb was last spring when I made baked oatmeal with it. I intend to change that this year. A lady from my parents’ church grows rhubarb and allowed me to come harvest as much as I wanted. Thirty-two cups later, I am ready to experiment!
Once you remove the leaves (which are actually toxic), rhubarb looks like pink celery and has a very tart taste. You can save the leaves and use them to make an all-natural pesticide. You can also compost the leaves. They won’t hurt your garden.
My main rhubarb recipe priority is from Marisa McClellan’s book Food in Jars: vanilla rhubarb jam with earl grey tea. I’ve been drooling over it for months! Unfortunately, it calls for liquid pectin. I haven’t found a brand without chemicals and/or preservatives which means I have to make my own and I am lazy. That’s why all the rhubarb is chilling in the freezer. Pun intended.
I also want to try Liana Krissoff’s Rustic Rhubarb Tars (from Canning for a New Generation) and Pecan-Polenta Rhubarb Cobbler (from the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook).
If you want to try rhubarb for yourself, here are some recipes from around the web that look delicious! Disclaimer: I haven’t tried any of these and can’t vouch for their tastiness. If you do try one of them, let me know!
- Magnolia Bakery’s Strawberry Rhubarb Pie (Huffington Post)
- Cinnamon Sugar Rhubarb Cake (Taste of Home)
- Turkey Cutlets with Rhubarb Chutney (Eating Well)
- Rhubarb Ginger Galette (Simply Recipes)
- Vanilla-Roasted Rhubarb & Strawberries (Bon Appetit)
- Lemon-Rhubarb Chicken (Bon Appetit)
- Oat-y Rhubarb Streusel Bars (Better Homes & Gardens)
- Rhubarb Berry Baked Oatmeal (Edible Perspective)
- Rhubarb Snacking Cake (Smitten Kitchen)