Ready, set, rhubarbApril 18, 2019 by Darcie
The older I get, the more I appreciate the rhythm of the seasons and the act of eating within them. Even though most supermarkets around me have all manner of produce available year round, things like December asparagus and January watermelon seem out of place, with a flavor that seems only like a whisper of what the fruit or vegetable should be.
When I follow the seasons, I feel more connected to what I am eating and it allows me to savor the fleeting moment when the fruit or vegetable that I am tasting is at its peak. That is why I was excited to see wrinkly green sprouts poking through the barely-thawed ground in my garden: rhubarb leaves that are braving the chilly spring air with promises of pies, tarts, jams, and sauces to come.
The only downside, if there is any, to having a rhubarb patch is that after some time you can run out of ideas for what to do with the bounty. You can freeze it for later, but there is only so much space available and rhubarb is a prolific producer. Luckily, the EYB Library contains a plethora of flavorful ways to take advantage of this tart vegetable (yes, it’s a vegetable although it is mainly used as a fruit). Naturally, rhubarb is perfect for the afore-mentioned pies and tarts, but there’s a world of other opportunities to showcase its puckery flavor. Try a no-bake dessert like Rhubarb ripple semifreddo or Rhubarb & honeycomb ice cream. Rhubarb makes a great addition to drinks both with alcohol, like Rhubarb marmalade Collins, and without alcohol, like rhubarb ginger cooler and Rhubarb punch.
Rhubarb works great in savory applications as well. You can try Couscous greens with rose-pickled rhubarb, a savory rhubarb and chipotle goat cheese pizza, Pork chops with rhubarb and grains, Rhubarb and potato tray bake, or shaved rhubarb and chard crostini. I’m making my recipe list and checking it twice, because in another week I’ll have stalks ready for harvest. One of the first things I will make is a rhubarb custard pie that is a riff on an old family recipe, but I am sure to try a few of the recipes above as well. What’s your favorite rhubarb dish?
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