While all you lovelies in the south are enjoying your citrus during the cold months, we in the north have… rhubarb! It is a wonderful fruit-like vegetable. Maybe not so versatile as a lemon, but equally flavorful and full of nutrients.
Rhubarb is very rich in a number of vitamins and minerals: it has high contents of Vitamin K and Calcium, in addition to Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Magnesium, Potassium, Manganese, and Omega-6. It’s also high in fiber, helping to reduce cholesterol.
It’s also incredibly easy to grow in the cooler regions of the north – the plants are perennials and will last 10-15 years, it’s a lovely tropical-looking plant, plus it is just fine being neglected.
But what the heck do you do with it?
Using my “stick it all in a pot” method works like a charm for rhubarb. Here’s the easiest rhubarb recipe I know, the one my grandmother made, and my mom made, and now I make:
- 6 stalks of Rhubarb (if you have more, scale the recipe up, if you have less, scale it down – no need to be too precise)
- 1/4 C Sugar
- 1/4 t Ground Cinnamon
- 1/8 t Ground Cloves
- 2-4 T Water
1. Wash the rhubarb stems and discard any leaves (the leaves contain oxalic acid, which is poisonous). Then slice the rhubarb into 1/2″ pieces.
2. Combine the sugar and rhubarb in a sauce pan, and let them stand at room temperature until the rhubarb begins to get a bit juicy (about 15 minutes).
3. Add the cinnamon and cloves. If there isn’t much juice, add the water to just coat the bottom of the pan. Then bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly.
4. Once it has boiled a few minutes, reduce the heat, cover, and simmer. Stir it occasionally, and add more sugar to taste. Continue simmering until the rhubarb is tender and liquid is thick (10-12 minutes). It should start to look like a sauce.
5. Remove from heat and let cool, without stirring.
6. Refrigerate to cool the sauce – if you want a thicker sauce, refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
You can then serve this over vanilla ice cream (fair trade of course) or creme fraiche. Or you can use it as a sweet, tangy sauce for tofu, chicken, or duck. Yum!
Other Rhubarb Recipes
- Rhubarb Cobbler can be made using Matt’s recipe here – yum. You can mix it with apples or berries, for a sweeter cobbler.
- Rhubarb Vodka
- The Rhubarb Compendium
- Rhubarb Recipes at Epicurious
- Rhubarb Recipes at Recipetips (I have my eye on the jam… hmmm)