I have never touched fresh rhubarb before this week! I have enjoyed eating it in different ways and seen it for sale at the end of driveways and at farmers markets, but never actually cooked with it! Every year I see it in the spring and think I will try some this year, but never do! Well, I finally stopped at a neighbors’ house and dropped some cash in the mail slot for a couple bundles of fresh rhubarb! I brought it home…and stared at it. I sliced a piece and tasted it raw-WOW that is tart! In this area rhubarb means spring is here and I have seen soooo much on rhubarb lately, mostly popping up on Pinterest, so I scoured pins and got inspired. Then I scavenged in my refrigerator and got to work! Experimentation was a success-now I’m in love and want to add rhubarb to my garden. There is something about the texture that I really enjoy!
I think my experimentations/recipes are best introduced with a joke:
A syrup, a shrub and a fool walk into a bar…
We’re here for Rhubarb we hear she’s a tart.
RECIPE: Rhubarb Strawberry Mint Simple Syrup
A classic flavor combination with a hint of mint makes a delicious soda, a super fancy twist on a mojito or the delicious drink I’m sipping as I write- Gin, club soda and syrup on ice- the sweet combo with the flowery gin is YUMMY!!!
- 2 cups chopped rhubarb
- 1 cup sliced strawberries
- ½ cup mint
- 2 cups water
- 1 ½ cup sugar
- Juice of 1 limes (about 2 tablespoons juice)
Place all ingredients in a pan and simmer stirring often. Cook until ingredients start to breakdown and liquid starts to turn a beautiful pink color about 20 minutes.
Turn heat off and remove solids- I use a mesh strainer, if you want to be more particular pour through cheesecloth (I don’t mind a couple bits or strawberry seeds). Put liquid back in pan and simmer for 15-20 minutes more – thickening and reducing the liquid just a little. Cool and store in refrigerator.
**The left over “fruit mash” is to yummy to toss so save it and put it in your oatmeal or spread on toast!
RECIPE: Rhubarb Blackberry Ginger Shrub
Shrubs…I never heard of them until last year at a food swap and Alana Chernila (author of The Homemade Pantry) introduced me to them!!! I feel in love and we have lived happily ever after since- Thanks Alana!!! A shrub is a ”drinking vinegar”, think of a vinegar based simple syrup infused with fruity and herbal flavors of deliciousness. If drinking vinegar sounds odd think about lemonade- highly acidic and tart juice sweetened and used to create a refreshing drink.
I think shrubs taste best on ice and mixed with seltzer/club soda. Find the flavor ratio you like best and enjoy. Shrubs are also popping up in the cocktail world. I am looking forward to cocktail experimentation with this batch!
- 2 cups raw apple cider vinegar
- 2 cups chopped rhubarb
- 1 ½ cup sugar
- ½ cup blackberries
- 2-inch knob of ginger sliced (just wash no need to peel)
Place all ingredients in a container and stir or shake. Place in refrigerator for 2 days shaking/stirring a few times a day. After 2 days strain liquid and store in refrigerator for up to one month.
RECIPE: Vanilla Rhubarb Fool
Fool or Foole depending on what part of the world you live in is a creamy dessert made with a custard or cream and mixed with cooked fruit. This is one of those things I hear or read a recipe for and kind of laugh off because- well because it is called fool! “Oh thanks for inviting me to the party, I brought a fool”, well, after this I’m over it and hooked on fool. I read a bunch of recipes and some called for heavier custards, some for just whipped cream and some for a more tart sour cream and whipped cream base. I decided to to play around and try something with the plain nonfat Greek yogurt in my fridge. So not a true fool, but foolish enough… And as Mr. T would say “I pity the fool that doesn’t love rhubarb! “ He totally said it, maybe not on A-Team, but he said it!
INGREDIENTS: Rhubarb mixture
- 2 cups Rhubarb chopped
- ½ vanilla bean split
- ½ cup apple cider (any juice will do but the cider was delicious)
- ½ cup sugar
INGREDIENTS: Cream Mixture
- I pint Whipping cream
- 1 ½ cup nonfat Greek yogurt
- 1 Tablespoon sugar
Place rhubarb, sugar, vanilla bean and cider in pan over medium heat stirring often until rhubarb begins to break down about 15 min. Remove from heat and cool.
Whip cream and 2 tablespoons of sugar until soft peaks form, gently fold in yogurt until blended.
Stir in fruit (looks pretty when fruit is swirled into cream) Refrigerate before serving.