Thursday, June 5, 2014

5 Reasons to Grow & 10 Ways to Use Rhubarb

  1. It's an early riser.  It comes back year after year and in the early spring - adding some color to your yard well before anything else is popping.
  2. It's pretty.  It is a gorgeous plant and, even if you don't like to eat it, it makes for great landscaping - it's kind of like a big, glorious hosta plant.
  3. It's high yield.  Some varieties, like this one, will produce multiple times during the season: fresh rhubarb.
  4. It's easy to grow. You plant it once and it keeps coming back year after year with little maintenance.
  5. It's yummy.  I love rhubarb - to me there is nothing more quintessentially spring than fresh rhubarb pie.

1. For landscaping purposes.  Even if you don't like the taste of rhubarb, you cannot deny that it puts on an impressive show and it comes back each year.
2. In Cobbler  I just used good ol' Betty Crocker's cookbook recipe for this cobbler and this is by far my favorite way to eat rhubarb.

3. In a muffin.  Apparently I am not the only rhubarb fanatic out there.  This website features a whole bunch of ideas for what to do with the garden staple.  I loved this muffin recipe:
4. As a sauce.  Rhubarb sauce is very easy to make and really packs some flavorful punch.  The basic idea is: 1c rhubarb, 1/4c sweetener (I used organic sugar) and 2 tbsp water.

 Mix and let it stand for 10-ish minutes.  Then simmer on low for 10 minutes.
 I used a Ninja to puree it afterwards, but I have also just used it without the puree step and it is excellent as well.  We ate this on our pancakes, but it is delicious on ice-cream as well (that is when I prefer it to be a little more chunky).
5. In a chutney.  I feel like mostly I use rhubarb as a desert/sweet, but this one is a bit more substantial and savory.  It is adapted from the book You Can Can and I actually did can some one year, but it went so fast that canning it was pretty pointless.  Here are the ingredients:
1.5c chopped, seeded tomatoes - I used a drained can of tomatoes - we don't have any fresh at the moment
1/3c chopped onion
1/3c chopped bell pepper
1/3c dried cherries, cranberries, raisins, etc.  I used some random dried fruit that I had - mostly raisins
1/3c white vinegar - I used Bragg's Apple Cider vinegar
1/4c granulated sugar - I plan to cut back on this a tad, it was a bit sweet for my taste
1/4c packed brown sugar
1/4c water
1 tbsp lemon or lime juice
1 tsp fresh, grated ginger
1/4 tsp salt
2 minced garlic cloves
1c 1/2" pieces rhubarb
Combine tomatoes, onion, sweet pepper, and dried fruit in a medium sauce pan.
Add 1/3c vinegar.
 Add 1/4c granulated sugar.
 Add 1/4c packed brown sugar.
 Add 1/4c water.
 Add lemon juice.
 Add grated ginger.
 Add a pinch of salt.
 Add minced garlic.
 Bring to boil, simmer, covered for 25 minutes on low.
 Add rhubarb.
 Return to boil and simmer, covered for ten minutes.
 Uncover and simmer for five more minutes.
 Serve over a bed of rice, quinoa, couscous, or maybe some kale from the garden.
6. Roasted on a salad.  This was inspired by an instagramer and it was amazing.  I just cut the rhubarb into 1" pieces and mixed 2 tbsp sugar with apx. 2c of rhubarb.  I threw that on a baking sheet for 5 minutes at 350 and then topped my salad with it.  This will be a repeat, so I will provide pictures next time.

7. As a topping for french toast. etc.  I roasted this rhubarb in the oven with honey and cinnamon at 350 for about 5 minutes and then topped my french toast with it - it was delicious.

My rhubarb needs some time to catch up to all of my blogging/cooking, but I will post again when the next round comes in.  I like to use it for strawberry/rhubarb jam and also to freeze it for the winter months, so you might see a post on that in the near future.

If you have tried all of this and you still have more rhubarb than you can shake a stalk at, you might try preserving it.  Here is my favorite method for that:

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