To be honest, I’ve never been a big fan of rhubarb. To me it looks like celery (although pretty, red celery) and I don’t normally consider using vegetables in baking. Well, except maybe for carrot cake—that’s acceptable sometimes. Last year I came across this strawberry-rhubarb tart recipe and decided to give it a try. It’s a delicious springtime recipe, and although rhubarb shares the spotlight in the recipe with strawberries, it prompted me to finally give rhubarb a chance in my baking repertoire. It also gave me a good excuse to use some of the rhubarb growing in our back yard.
This year I made the Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp Bars from Smitten Kitchen, which were quite tasty and a definite hit with the family for our Easter lunch celebration. Next on my list to make are some strawberry-rhubarb ice pops, a request from my kids who both love the Zoku Fish Pop Mold we got last year. And maybe I’ll even make homemade rhubarb syrup to use with my SodaStream soda maker and whip up a well-deserved cocktail. Hmmm…. Okay, now I can see the possibilities—rhubarb might be making more appearances in my kitchen.
A few notes on rhubarb for those of you who may not be completely familiar with the sweet/tart vegetable that masquerades as a fruit:
- Choose stalks that are large, plump and unblemished. Avoid limp stalks with dry split ends.
- Color does not indicate ripeness, as there are different varieties. Rhubarb grown in the field tends to be green or speckled with pink while hothouse-grown rhubarb tends to be a darker red color. Experts say hothouse grown varieties tend to be a bit sweeter and more tender than field-grown rhubarb.
- If your rhubarb happens to come with leaves attached, remove them before storage (the leaves contain oxalic acid and can be poisonous if consumed in large quantities)
- Stalks can be stored in the refrigerator for 5 to 7 days, unwashed and sealed in an air-tight plastic bag or tightly wrapped in plastic. Rhubarb also freezes well.
What’s your favorite way to cook with rhubarb? I’m always on the hunt for new recipes, so if you’ve got one please link to it in the comments section below.
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