Garden Spotlight: Rhubarb

3 Jun


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!

Rhubarb 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.

_MG_4861I 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?


5 Responses to “Garden Spotlight: Rhubarb”

  1. pat June 3, 2009 at 9:51 pm #

    Make all 3. I will come over and try them and will let you know my favorite ways to cook rhubarb after the taste test :)

  2. kristi June 4, 2009 at 11:21 am #

    I love rhubarb too! At work we have a rhubarb potluck every year- we had 25-30 different desserts this year. Awesomeness!

  3. Jen June 7, 2009 at 12:48 pm #

    Thanks for posting that recipe, it looks delish and so “homey”.

    We don’t have much in the way of rhubarb in Calif, but I’m going to adapt your recipe for my peaches that i’ve grown.

    Muchas gracias…love the blog!

  4. Joan June 10, 2009 at 3:10 pm #

    Thanks for bringing back the childhood memories Jen. I love mom’s crisp. I’m intrigued by the muffins so will be making them for us. Our rhubarb thrives and I never seem to use enough of it. I don’t do well freezing as out of sight, out of mind and before I know it, it is a back of freezer burnt dried up rhubarb nubs. I like using fresh!
    I’m enjoying your blog… your fav sista!

  5. Joan June 17, 2009 at 8:07 am #

    Hey Jen, I just made the the Rhubarb Walnut (although I used pecans) last night. They are awesome! New favorite recipe for me. They are truly so moist and I’m not just saying that to get your goat – they ARE! Thanks for sharing

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