So Much Rhubarb!

Ahhhh…‘tis the season for rhubarb. It always seems that folks that don’t have rhubarb in their gardens can’t get enough of this astringent veggie, and those that don’t want it can’t get it out of their garden. If you don’t want it, you probably just don’t know how versatile it is. We’re going to share a few of our favourite recipes to remedy that.

STEWED RHUBARB
Adapted from Jamie Oliver

Chop enough rhubarb until a medium saucepan is 1/2 to 2/3 full. Add the juice of 1 orange and 2/3 cup sugar. (All amounts are flexible depending on how sweet or tart you like your rhubarb.) Bring the mixture to a boil and then let simmer for 5-10 minutes until the rhubarb is mushy.

CARROT RHUBARB SOUP

2 shallots (or one small onion), minced
1 Tbsp oil or butter
1 1/2 pounds carrots, cut in 1/2″ dice
1/2 pound rhubarb, cut in 1/2″ pieces
1/2 cup frozen orange juice concentrate
1 1/2 cups veggie or chicken broth
1 can coconut milk or 2 cups milk
salt and pepper to taste
tarragon or cilantro

In a large saucepan over medium heat, saute the shallots in the butter or oil until soft but not browned, about 3 minutes. Add the carrots and cook, stirring to prevent sticking, over medium-high heat for a few minutes and then add broth. When carrots are beginning to get tender (15-20 minutes of cooking in broth), add the rhubarb and orange juice, cover, and cook until rhubarb is soft, 5-10 minutes longer. When carrots and rhubarb are fully cooked, puree the soup until it has a smooth consistency. Add coconut or regular milk, and warm to serve. Add chopped fresh herbs like tarragon or cilantro, season with salt and pepper and serve!

BROWN SUGAR RHUBARB CAKE

1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk (or yogurt diluted with a bit of milk)
1 tsp baking soda
2 cups flour (white or whole wheat)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups fresh rhubarb, diced

Topping:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

Cream butter and sugar. Add the egg and mix well. Dissolve the baking soda in buttermilk or yogurt and add to sugar mixture. Mix flour, salt and cinnamon and add to first mixture. Add vanilla and rhubarb and mix just until the rhubarb is incorporated into the batter. (Do not overmix!)

Spread into greased 9×13 inch pan and sprinkle on topping. Bake at 350°F for 50 minutes.

RHUBARB BLINTZ

1 cup flour
1 1/4 cup milk
2/3 cup water
1 egg
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp oil, plus more for pan

Add milk and water to flour. Mix well. Add remaining ingredients and beat until smooth. Let rest 1-2 hours. (Unless you’re late for brunch, then just skip this step.) Bring frying pan to medium-high heat. Add oil. Make sure you wait until the pan is hot before adding batter, otherwise it will stick. Add batter 1/2 a ladleful at a time, tipping the pan to ensure that the blintz is thin. Flip and cook briefly on the other side. Once you have a stack of blintzes, fill each with 2 tbsp of filling. (We used the stewed rhubarb recipe described above.) Fold in the sides, roll it up, and place in a lightly greased pan. Bake at 375°F for 20 minutes. Serve hot with sour cream.

RHUBARB FRUIT LEATHER
Requires a dehydrator
Makes one sheet of fruit leather

4 cups chopped rhubarb
1 tsp cinnamon
3 Tbsp honey (or more for a sweeter flavour)

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Remove from heat. Add 4 cups chopped rhubarb. Cover and let stand 10 minutes. Drain. In a blender or food processor, puree fruit, with 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 3 tablespoons honey (more to taste).

Many dehydrators come with plastic sheets designed for fruit leather. Pour mixture onto sheet. Shake gently to encourage it to settle evenly. Dehydrate at 40 C/115 F for 12 hours. If your dehydrator doesn’t have a temperature setting, don’t worry, but you may have to check the leather fruit more frequently. Check after 12 hours. When ready, the fruit leather will be sticky, but not wet. You may need to continue dehydrating it for an additional 2-8 hours. To store, remove the fruit leather from the plastic sheet. Transfer to wax paper. Roll and store in a cool, dry location.

RHUBARB SYRUP

chopped rhubarb, as much as you have
sugar or honey to taste (optional)

Stew rhubarb over medium low heat, covered, stirring occasionally, until fibres have completely broken down into the liquid. Set aside to cool for 20 minutes, then strain through a mesh produce bag OR a colander lined with cheesecloth. Squeeze mesh or cheesecloth firmly to extract all liquid.

Got it? Simple. Now, here are a few things you can do with it:

1. Use as a rhubarbade concentrate. If this is your intention, add sugar (my preference) or honey during the stewing process. Mix syrup with flat or sparkling water to taste. Ta da! Freeze excess syrup for consumption any time of the year.

2. Use as a cooking acid instead of lemon juice or vinegar. If this is how you’d like to use your syrup, do NOT add sugar or honey during the stewing process. Preserve by freezing in an ice cube tray to make easy portions. Store frozen cubes in a freezer-safe bag, and use a straw to remove excess air from the bag before returning to the freezer.

Rhubarb, although very acidic, isn’t quite as acidic as lemon juice, so keep that in mind when making substitutions. Most lemon juice has a pH of around 2.1. I measured the acidity of my rhubarb syrup at 2.9 (yes, I’m one of those geeks who keeps a pH meter lying around). That’s not quite as close as it sounds since pH is measured logarithmically, like earthquakes. It is, nonetheless, acidic enough to achieve the desired effect in many recipes. If you use lemon juice to add acidity for canning purposes, be aware that you want the overall acidity to be under 4.3.

3. Make candy. Pour about 2/3 cup rhubarb syrup sweetened with sugar onto the fruit roll sheet of your dehydrator and dry at the highest setting until syrup is solid and malleable, about 12-18 hours. Shape sheet of dried syrup into individual candies and wrap or store in an airtight container. These taste just like Jolly Ranchers, only better!

Updated from posts originally published in 2011, 2012 and 2013

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