June 1, 2014 § 4 Comments
You know spring is on it’s way when you see the gnarly leaves of the rhubarb plant emerge from the dirt. There’s no stopping it once it starts, the leaves getting bigger and bigger until the flower pops up in the middle.
Rhubarb, a perennial, is a very hardy plant that thrives in the cold northern regions. Every old farmstead likely has a rhubarb patch somewhere, having been made into pies and sauces for the family get togethers through the years and still going strong.
It doesn’t require much care, producing ruby red stalks for decades each spring. Every few years you can divide the plant and either start a new patch or pass it on to a gardening friend or family member. There’s only one important point you must know, in case you don’t already, and that is that the leaves are highly poisonous. I just cut the leaves off right in the garden and add them to the compost pile.
Rhubarb will keep for about a week in the fridge, but I find it easiest to just go out and pick some when I need it. You can freeze it, but not very well in my opinion, kind of turns to mush.
Here are a few recipes using rhubarb. One is for scones, one for chutney, and one for a syrup. And don’t forget the Rhubarb Clafouti!
Strawberry Rhubarb Scones
3 cups flour, I use white spelt
1/2 cup organic sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 cup chopped rhubarb
1 cup sliced strawberries
Line a baking sheet with parchment or grease lightly.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Mix the dry ingredients together.
Add the butter pieces and work into the flour mixture with your fingers or a fork until you have pea sized pieces throughout.
Add buttermilk and fruit and stir gently with a fork until combined. don’t overwork or they’ll be tough. The dough will be on the moist side.
Lightly flour the baking sheet and pat out the dough, making a circle about 10 inches wide.
Cut into even pieces, like a pizza. You can sprinkle with a little extra sugar if you like.
Bake about 18 to 25 minutes, until lightly browned.
Rhubarb Raisin Chutney
This chutney is great on sandwiches, like ham or roast pork. It also makes a nice glaze for pork tenderloin, chops or fish.
2 1/2 cups roughly chopped rhubarb
1/4 to 1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup golden raisins
In a medium sized pot combine maple syrup, vinegar, onion, coriander, ginger, mustard and salt. Bring to a boil, then cook for about 5 minutes, uncovered.
Add the rhubarb and raisins and continue cooking, simmering actually, another 15 minutes or so, until rhubarb is softened. You don’t want mush here, so keep an eye on it.
Remove from the heat, then taste for sweetness, adding more maple syrup if you’d like.
Makes about 2 cups.
Strawberry Rhubarb Syrup
This is a delicious syrup you can drizzle over vanilla ice cream or pound cake. Use instead of maple syrup on pancakes or french toast. It’s also great mixed with a little sparking water and a splash of vodka. Ok, maybe more than a splash.
1 1/2 cups chopped rhubarb
1 cup sliced strawberries
3/4 cup sugar, organic preferably organic
1 cup water
In saucepan, combine all ingredients.
Bring to a boil and cook about 15 minutes until rhubarb is soft.
Put through a fine mesh strainer to separate pulp. You can either discard it or mix it with butter or cream cheese and spread on a bagel. Stir it into oatmeal or yogurt with some nuts for breakfast. Yum.
Makes about 1 1/2 cups.