Category Archives: Rhubarb

Rhubarb Carnival

I know this is late notice but I just had the idea of doing a rhubarb roundup. Once I figure out where the rhubarb can jam roundup is I’ll link that in since there will be a bazillion rhubarb recipes there but I want to include more than just canning recipes. In fact it’s my goal to can as little as possible this year (tomatoes and can jam aside).

I came across this recipe for rhubarb curd, which is later baked into rhubarb bars and right up my alley. She’s linked into quite a few other bloggers with rhubarb recipes as well.

My favorite master gardener, Tom has just posted his rhubarb ice cream.

It got me thinking – rhubarb is one of those things that you either love or hate and if you love it you have endless rhubarb recipes. So please add a link to any and all rhubarb recipes you have on your blog or on other sites that you’ve found and tried.

*Later Update: Here is the rhubarb can jam roundup with loads of other rhubarb ideas.

Let’s convert those non-rhubarb eaters over one bite at a time!

To use Mr. Linky under “name” put your name, hyphen and the name of your recipe then under “url” enter the link to the post where you have that recipe, not just your blog in general. It’s ok if you don’t have a blog – you can enter your recipe down in the comments. If you are on Facebook you can enter it on your wall and then link to that too.

May Can Jam: Rhubarb

Thanks to Meg at Grow and Resist fame I didn’t miss the can jam this month (whew!) Here’s to facebook. If only it had been around when I was in college so friends could have reminded me of deadlines…

This month’s Can Jam is either rhubarb or asparagus. I plan to do both many times as soon as Sunday’s garden tour is over but for now I had to bang out a quickie by the deadline to stay in the challenge. When I opened my google reader the other day I saw this. If you haven’t visited Tom’s blog you need to. A master gardener gardening in my zone who knows how to live in style, if only I could be a dog in his house…I have a feeling those dogs get some amazing eats and plenty of belly scratching which sounds perfect to me about now. I’m ordering the Mes Confitures cookbook through his amazon link as a way to thank him for sharing it with me.

His recipe calls for strawberries and rhubarb and since my strawberries aren’t quite ripe yet (plus I’m a rhubarb purist) I thought I’d make it without strawberry’s cloying ways. I followed his recipe with the following exceptions: No strawberries, second day brought the juice to 220, added the rhubarb and cooked until thick which took about 20 minutes longer, added 2 sprigs of rosemary during the fruit boil.

Can I just say divine? The hint of rosemary is suggestive without being overpowering, the rhubarb is fresh despite being cooked with just a hint of toothiness, the flavors have all the brightness of strawberry freezer jam with a touch of tart, plenty of sweet and all wrapped up in shelf stable jars.

I tried it immediately on a peanut butter sandwich and it was divine. It will be equally divine with roast duck or on camembert and crackers. And you can bet your bottom dollar it will be great on scones tomorrow morning.

What I’m most excited for though, is my daddy to come soon so I can combine it with fresh strawberries into a no-bake pie since he’s a strawberry rhubarb kind of guy. I think he’s actually timing his visit so that my strawberries are ripe when he’s here.

Grandma’s Rhubarb Custard Pie

I’ve been meaning to post this recipe for a year now so I figured I’d better get on it while rhubarb is once again in season.  Back in the day my husband would speak longingly about his favorite childhood pie, a rhubarb custard pie.  I’ve always been a rhubarb purist.  A nice rhubarb cobbler with nothing to interfere with the favor of rhubarb was my idea of heaven.  I poo-pood the rhubarb custard pie and kept up my purist rhubarb ways. 

Then once while we were visiting my mother in law during spring she made this pie and I saw the error of my ways.  I do still love rhubarb cobbler, don’t get me wrong.  And I know legions of fans worship the rhubarb strawberry combination, including my father.  But this pie has  come to herald spring for us.  I love it for all the same reasons I love key lime pie – it’s at once creamy and tart and sweet, all wrapped up in each perfect bite. I try to make it once a week while rhubarb is in season yet we somehow don’t manage to tire of it by the time the strawberries ripen.

Even if you are a hardcore rhubarb purist I hope you’ll give this pie a chance. 

Rhubarb Custard Pie

1 double pie crust or shortbread crust

Finely chop enough rhubarb to fill a pie crust, the fresher the better
Mix together well:
3  beaten eggs
2 cups sugar (adjust up or down to your liking next time)
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon mace (not necessary but adds to the flavor)
1/2 cup Golden Glen cream

Line a deep dish pie plate with one crust  then line the inside of the crust with aluminum foil.  Cover the lined bottom of the pie crust with beans and pre-bake it at 425 for 15 minutes.  Fill the crust with chopped rhubarb and pour the custard over the top.  Use cookie cutters to cut shapes from the remaining crust and arrange them on top of the pie.  Sprinkle the cutouts with sugar or a cinnamon sugar mixture.

Bake at 450 farenheit for 10 minutes then reduce the oven to 325 and continue baking for 1 hour.

Rhubarb Conserve

It’s rhubarb week – every which way!

This recipe was given to me more then 20 years ago by a little old lady so who knows how old it is?

  • 2 cups cooked rhubarb (simmer sliced stalks in water until soft)
  • 1 cup canned crushed pineapple with juice - not exactly local but you could make it without
  • the juice and grated rind from one orange – again not local
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 5 1/2 cups of sugar (I plan to try this next week using whey and pomona to get the sugar content down)
  • 1/2 bottle Certo or one box of Certo (Certo is a pectin you can buy at any major grocers)

Combine all the ingredients except for the pectin in a 4 quart saucepan.  Bring it to a rolling boil and boil it for one minute.  Add the Certo, stirring constantly.  Return it to a rolling boil and boil it for one minute.  Whenever you boil sugar be very careful not to splash it on yourself!

Remove the pan from the heat and skim any surface bubbles off.  Pour it into hot, sterilized canning jars and seal using a water bath.

Note that the seals used to line canning jar lids generally contain BPA which leaches into food when heated.  Because of this I now freeze all my jams and jellies rather then canning.  Another old time method I have not yet researched the health merits of is sealing with paraffin rather then lids. 

In the past I’ve been gifted some jam sealed using this method before and wasn’t quite sure the best way to get the paraffin out.  In the end I chunked it out using a butter knife but had to discard the top layer of jelly since the paraffin flaked off into it.  If you have any canning advice or tips on removing paraffin please speak up!

As summer progresses I’ll be exploring more food preservation techniques using lacto-fermentation, drying and cellaring in an effort to be more green and more healthy.  In the meantime it’s nice to have a few standard recipes that I know how to make. 

Reinventing food is challenging but some days I just want to put the kitchen on auto pilot and enjoy the kiddos.

Homemade Rhubarb Soda

I’ve never been pro-soda but now that I’m on my homegrown kick I’m discovering new old ways to make things.  I posted last month on how to harness wild yeast to make your own soda using ingredients you can find at any grocers:  http://sustainableeats.wordpress.com/2009/04/18/homemade-soda/.  So far we’ve made lemon soda and rootbeer (with the caveat that we used dried sarsparilla and wintergreen leaves found at Bob’s Homebrew in the U District for the root beer.)

This spring the first fruit up is rhubarb which is a favorite of mine so I have lots of rhubarb plants.  I decided to turn it into soda.

To make this you will need a mess of rhubarb (maybe 5 or 6 nice sized stalks), a ginger bug, and some sugar.  You can use just about any kind of sugar crystals but not honey since it may kill the wild yeast.

To make your ginger bug peel and mince about 2 teaspoons of ginger root.  Put it in a small jar or glass with one cup of water and about 2 teaspoons of sugar.  Cover the jar with a paper towel and rubber band – your bug needs air to grow.  Feed it more ginger and sugar daily.  When it starts bubbling in 3 – 6 days you can use it for soda.  If it gets moldy throw it away and start over.  Gently swirling the ginger in the jar several times a day will speed up the process and help keep it from molding.  You can maintain the ginger bug indefinitely by feeding it more ginger and sugar at least every two days and pouring off the liquid  into a new jar when the old jar gets too full of old ginger and spent sugar.

This is natural yeast which consumes the sugar, creating carbonation in the way that commercial yeast does when consuming sugar.  Except this yeast bug is not genetically modified, it’s live probiotics you’ve captured and will help improve your gut flora.

To make your flavoring rinse and slice the rhubarb into 1/2 inch pieces.  Cover them partially with water and simmer them until the fruits softens and begins to get mushy.  Strain the juice and liquid using a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth-lined colander.  Let that juice cool to room temperature.

se-rubarb-mash

se-rubarb-juice

In the meantime make simple syrup using 1 1/2 cups of sugar crystals and 1/2 gallon of filtered water.  Dissolve the sugar in the water over medium heat then let that cool to room temperature.

Combine your rhubarb juice, your simple syrup, and about 1/2 to 1 cup of your ginger bug depending on how much carbonation and ginger flavor you want.  I think the ginger rounds out the rhubarb nicely. 

Taste the “soda” for strength.  If you feel the flavor is too strong you can add one cup of water at a time.  It will be very sweet at this point but after several days the ginger bug will consume the sugar so if you want it less sweet you can simply let it carbonate longer.

Put your “soda” in a jar on the counter away from light and seal it tightly.  After several days you should see bubbles forming.  The longer it sets out at room temperature, the more sugar the yeasties will consume.  Taste it daily.  When you like it put it in smaller bottles and put it in the fridge to stop if from carbonating further. 

se-rubarb-soda

This was a refreshing drink – not too sweet and a fun pink color which the kids loved.  The great thing about rhubarb is it’s high in vitamin C so if you simmer it at a low temperature you maintain much of that nutritional profile.  This would be great served with some lemon verbena leaves frozen in ice cubes, or added to the fruit when you stewed it.  Lemon verbena is one of those plants with magical sweetening qualities like angelica.  If you add it to fruits or pies it will reduce the amount of sugar you need.

I also froze some of this into popsicle forms.  The kids (even my super picky toddler) loved them.  I plan to make up a big batch of the rhubarb juice and freeze it so we can enjoy this long after rhubarb season has ended.  It beats that nasty chemical-laden pink lemonade concentrate any day!  I wonder if we set up a roadside stand selling rhubarb fizz – do you think people would stop?