The Rhubarb is here! The Rhubarb is here!
Sniffing a fresh cut stalk of Rhubarb in the early spring, for me, is decadent. It’s a sharp smell with a sweet finish. A little nibble of the fresh reddish green meat is a bit sour, tickling the taste buds making me wiggle in excitement. I like fresh young Rhubarb stalks that can only be had straight from the plant, once the stalks have traveled around the country and landed in the produce section they seem to get tough and bitter, and who wants that?!
Rhubarb is probably one of the easiest things to grow, at least the way I’ve witnessed it. The internet sites make it sound like a scary task-ridden battle to keep going. Ignore those nasty thoughts. Plop a crown in the ground in a mounded bit of soil, keep the puppy away because those leaves are toxic, but do add the leaves to the compost pile. You should have stalks from early spring until late fall as long as you don’t over harvest, it may take a year or two to find it’s groove, but after that, you’ll be begging people to take stalks away.
And, hey, while you’re playing with your Rhubarb, why don’t you do what I witnessed my friend Suz do while she prepared a Strawberry Rhubarb Pie. I remember she still had her work clothes on, blouse and skirt, heels kicked to the side. She cranked up the tunes, had the doors thrown wide open, she had a frosty bottle of a a cold crisp dry white wine on the butcher block, half full glass in hand, ingredients and pie making accoutrements in front of her and was enjoying the process immensely.
What can you do with rhubarb besides dousing it with sugar you ask???
Please DO visit the internet for great recipes! Here are some ideas to enter into that search bar:
* Honey Rhubarb Sauce, add in orange zest or vanilla powder for a flavor boost.
*Chicken Rhubarb Stew jazzed up with Ginger and Saffron
*Rhubarb Crisp is an excellent choice and an easy option and one that can be transposed to meet your dietary prescription. Think about adding squeezed Grapefruit to the fruit filling for a fun flavor sensation.
*Rhubarb Chutney full of Chopped Onion and Nuts is great on Pork in place of Barbecue Sauce.
* make a fabulous Cocktail Syrup with the sweetener of your choice and then add a sprig of Rosemary or a handful of fragrant and fresh wild Roses to give it extra appeal, or hey, do both!
*Add chopped rhubarb to vinegar for the base of delicious vinaigrettes
*Add chopped rhubarb to gin or vodka and let steep for weeks for delicious cocktails
*Spruce up your typical Strawberry Rhubarb Pie by making a Nut Crust and adding Orange Zest and Juice and a grate of fresh Nutmeg to your filling. Try a Coconut Vanilla Ice Cream on top instead of the old milk and vanilla.
*How about a Rhubarb Almond Upside Down Cake made with Olive Oil!
Whatever you do make sure to have a little fun, live on the edge and experiment a little!