One of my favorite things about spring is the first crop of rhubarb out of my garden. Growing up, we always had rhubarb growing and I always seemed to be the one that had to go pull it, clean it and cut it. This is not hard work but I’m pretty sure at age 12 I whined and complained about it. However, I also got to enjoy the fruits of my labor (pun intended) by the deliciousness that my mother would create; mainly rhubarb crisp and rhubarb pie. I remember not being able to wait more than about 5 seconds to start picking at the hot crisp out of the oven despite my mom’s warning of “you’re going to burn your tongue”. She was right, of course, but I just couldn’t help myself. The pain went away by adding a scoop of vanilla ice cream that would instantly melt and create a white river throughout the bowl. Now that is a river you could convince me to swim in.
I now have my own rhubarb patch and my favorite recipe is still rhubarb crisp but I have come up with other things to make with it (recipes below). The best part about rhubarb is it freezes well. Clean it, cut it and throw it in a freezer bag and you’re good to go. But, before you freeze it all, at least make a crisp!
Adapted from Betty Crocker
*This is my father-in-law’s favorite. His birthday is in early May, right when I pick my first rhubarb. This has been my gift to him the last 2 years.
4 c. cut up rhubarb
3/4 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. whole wheat flour ( you an substitute all-purpose flour)
1/2 c. old-fashioned oats
1/3 c. butter, softened
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
Cream or ice cream, if desired….and who wouldn’t?
Preheat oven to 375.
Spread rhubarb in a 8x8x2 square pan. Mix remaining ingredients (except cream); sprinkle over rhubarb.
Bake about 30 minutes until top is golden brown and the rhubarb is bubbling.
Serve warm with cream or ice cream.
Rhubarb Walnut Muffins
*These have become a favorite at my office, which is great because if they are in my house, my waistline is in trouble. I typically double the recipe. This version will make between 8-10. When I double it, I get 18 muffins.
- 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
- 3/4 c. whole wheat pastry flour
- 3/4 c. brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup canola oil
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 c. chopped rhubarb
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Preheat oven 325.
Combine dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients, mixing only until moist. Fold in rhubarb and walnuts. Pour into muffin cups. Combine topping ingredients and sprinkle over muffins. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
I do realize this is not a good photo. However, it’s the best one I have and you can kind of see the delightful crumb topping.
Strawberry Rhubarb Sauce
*This freezes very well. In fact, I just took some out of the freezer from last season. It’s great over ice cream, stirred into oatmeal or yogurt or just eaten with a spoon.
The measurements on this are very loose. It all depends on your preferences of sweet and tart.
2 c. chopped rhubarb
1/4 c. sugar
few splashes of water
2 c. strawberries, quartered
Dash of cinnamon
Put rhubarb, sugar and water into a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over med-low heat. Cook about 15-20 minutes until rhubarb is soft. Add strawberries and cinnamon and cook to your desired consistency. Add more sugar and water as needed to your desired sweetness and consistency.
Serve warm, room temperature or cold. Store in the fridge or freeze.
These are my favorite ways to cook with rhubarb. What are yours?