I’m moving away from dairy topics today in favor of rhubarb. Rhubarb is a perennial stalk with a sour taste and very little nutritional value. It is, however, essentially the first fruit-like treat of the early spring, and it can be delicious. Rhubarb is classically paired with strawberries (for good reason), but it also gets a great flavor boost from citrus (lemon or orange) zest and/or juice. For us, strawberry season comes after the onset of rhubarb season, so I usually blend fresh rhubarb with last year’s frozen strawberries and/or raspberries.
Last time I looked, I almost choked when I saw the price per pound of rhubarb at the grocery store. It’s not that hard to grow, so if you plan on using more than a couple stalks in a pie every year, it’s worth dedicating a few square feet of your garden for your rhubarb fix. You should also be aware of the fact that there is nothing wrong or unripe about green rhubarb. It looks different but tastes the same and is sometimes cheaper.
Rhubarb has the best looking leaves that you won’t ever see in a grocery store. They’re actually mildly poisonous, so admire them, but don’t eat them.
I generally make a simple sauce out of rhubarb, strawberries and/or raspberries, orange zest + juice, honey, and a little water. My apologies for being so terrible about specific quantities in recipes, but really this is one of those experiments where pretty much everything is added “to taste.”
I started by chunking up about seven stalks of rhubarb.
I zested and juiced two oranges.
I threw the rhubarb pieces into the first pan I saw, which happened to be cast iron. This is NOT something I recommend. I failed to consider the fact that rhubarb has a lot of acid in it and in combination with orange and strawberries, it definitely interacted with the pan to give it a little of that “cast iron pan” taste. It was rather photogenic, but if I were to do it again, I’d stick with stainless steel.
I set the stove to medium and added a little water, just to get the cooking started.
When the rhubarb was fairly mushy, I added the orange zest/juice, some frozen strawberries, and honey to taste.
When everything was cooked until softened and sufficiently sweetened (about a half hour total), the sauce was done. Rhubarb sauce is great on plain yogurt, pancakes, or served warm over ice cream. Enjoy!