It’s rhubarb time! My favorite crop is growing and I am noticing it popping up all over town. At the market it is being sold for a pretty penny and there is talk of strawberry rhubarb pie for dinner. This is my favorite summer treat too, but aren’t there more things you can do with this quasi-fruit? I thought so and rather than just throwing it into brownies or making muffins with it, we have been seeking out the very best recipes for this strange plant. Please read on for our favorite rhubarb treats… and definitely don’t eat the poisonous leaves!!
If you happen to have a plant on your property you should have enough for typical baking and experimenting with a few new recipes. They are super low maintenance and send out stalks in early summer and then big pretty white flowers. When the flower stalks start to show, cut them back so the energy and nutrients go back down into the stalks for harvest. You want firm strong stalks for harvest. You should be able to pick them for a month or so before they are done in by the heat of high summer.
If you are a rhubarb nut like me, then you might want space for a few plants or a few good friends. I ran all over town one day to dig up plants, to pick up plants that were split off of a huge mother plant, and to harvest ready to be eaten stalks.
It turns out more people I know dislike rhubarb than love it so I’ve had my hands full of bartering, digging, and harvesting. Thank goodness for our little farm community!
Baker’s note on how to prepare and store rhubarb: If you are a fan of harvesting and freezing fruit like me, then remember that rhubarb is pretty watery and the sharp corners like to puncture through bags on freezing and thawing. I recommend only half filling gallon sized freezer zip top bags for easier extraction from the freezer later. Preparation for cooking or storage: remove leaves, wash, chop and dice stalks into small 1/2 inch chunks and freeze.
Best Rhubarb recipes and uses
1. Rhubarb Pie (skip the strawberries!)
Strawberry rhubarb pie is the best for a reason. But I am still trying to figure out where this originated because here in Madison strawberries are not in season until mid July and rhubarb will be bolting by then. This isn’t an issue if you freeze your harvest when it is ripe and can be patient, but hang on. Have you ever tried a straight rhubarb pie? We think it’s even better than strawberry rhubarb. Here’s a quick recipe for a good rhubarb pie filling:
Rhubarb Pie Filling Recipe
Mix the following together and bake in your favorite pie crust (top and bottom) at 400 F for 50-60 minutes, until the filling is beginning to bubble. Lattice top is great for this pie.
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 pound rhubarb cut into 1/2 inch chunks
2.Rhubarb Coffee Cake
Nicely sweet and delicious and REALLY pairs well with a cup of coffee. Making this gluten-free made for a stickier coffee cake but was delicious and we sold out at the market! To try our gluten free rhubarb coffee cake, you’ll have to find Ashera Fine Baking at the Tamworth Farmers’ Market on Saturdays!
Here is a LINK to a unique, great cookie that highlights rhubarb with a light, melt in your mouth meringue.
4. Raw rhubarb dipped in sugar
I wish I had taken a picture, but there were 2 teenage girls chomping on a whole rhubarb stalk last Saturday at the Tamworth Farmer’s Market. YUM. Some people dip it in sugar and we dip it in our own homemade maple sugar too!
5. RhUBARB Syrup for drinks
Make your own lemonade pink naturally with rhubarb syrup. Or spice up a gin and tonic. This is on the meal plan for this weekend using a really simple recipe. Mix to taste with water for a unique drink or add to lemonade for a new twist. I will be making this soon with the Tamworth Distillery small batch locally infused gin soon! Follow their Facebook page for fun updates.
6.Rhubarb Raspberry Crumble Bars
I make seasonal fruit bars for the Tamworth Lyceum and for the farmers’ market and my favorites are always the combinations with rhubarb because they add a unique level of tartness to the gooey jelly filling.
7. Rhubarbple Sauce (aka Maple Rhubarb Cream)
We found a cool recipe in Yankee Magazine’s Favorite New England Recipes for “Rhubarb Cream”, which comes out like a wonderfully tart applesauce that is made with just rhubarb, sugar, water, and corn starch. We modified the recipe from the book slightly and served with some of our Gluten Free Dandelion Cookies instead of cream. Here’s a quick recipe:
Rhubarbple Sauce (aka Maple Rhubarb Cream) Recipe (Gluten free)
Chop 1 pound of rhubarb and combine with 1 cup water, 1/2 cup sugar, and 1/2 cup maple syrup. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 20 minutes, until very tender. In a small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons cornstarch with 1/4 cup water and whisk to combine. Mix into the rhubarb mixture and bring to a boil again. Remove from heat and cool in desired container or bowl, and serve this sweet and tart treat on its own, with cookies, whipped cream, ice cream, or whatever strikes your fancy!
I certainly hope you enjoy your own adventures in baking with rhubarb! I know I do!