Now that spring is feeling pretty established and we’re starting to see lots of tasty seasonal food, I thought I’d start doing some spotlights on different ingredients. Since I am extremely enamored of rhubarb and stoked that it is ripe for the noshing at the moment, it seemed like a good starting place.
Growing and using rhubarb: The rad thing about rhubarb is that you pretty much don’t need to do anything to grow it. You can stick a plant in your garden and forget about it, and when you go back the next year it is all of a sudden threatening world dominance and providing you with a ton of rhubarb to eat. It’s a perennial that’s very cold hardy and drought resistant, which makes it well suited to benign neglect. It’s not recommended that you plant it from seed, but if you plant the roots in early spring one year and leave it be, you’ll be eating rhubarb the next year. Just make sure you don’t pick the stalks the first year that it’s growing, as the roots need the nourishment from the leaves to thrive. Also, you probably already know this, but make sure you eat the stalks, NOT the leaves: the stalks are delicious, but the leaves are poisonous.
There are a ton of different rhubarb recipes floating around, but here are some that looked particularly delicious and/or unique:
Rhubarb and rosewater syrup from 101 Cookbooks: “It has a lot going on, tartness from the rhubarb, tang from fresh lime juice, a backdrop of sweetness that’s anything but shy, and the wildcard finish – rosewater. The resulting syrup is strong, and lovely, and a kiss of it is just what a bowl of yogurt, or glass of soda water needs.”
Rhubarb-orange pancakes from Coconut & Lime: Fluffy pancakes full of rhubarb chunks and speckled with orange zest = yes please! It hadn’t occurred to me that if you just diced rhubarb up small enough you could throw it into pancake batter without pre-cooking it.
Tofu with zesty rhubarb sauce from the taste space: Spicy, ginger-y tart rhubarb sauce over tofu and brown rice. This looks amazing, and has the bonus of being vegan.
Rhubarb iced tea from Not Without Salt: A lightly simmered rhubarb tea served with a touch of honey, mint and lemon zest. This looks like it would be an amazing drink for a hot summer day, preferably after lots of gardening or bike riding had happened.
Orange-rhubarb butter from Food in Jars: Orange juice, rhubarb and sugar, cooked until thick and jammy and a dark rosy colour. Fruit butters are a good alternative to jams, as you don’t need tons of sugar to make them set.
Caramelized onion, beet and rhubarb compote from Affairs of Living: Sweet onions, tart rhubarb and earthy beets all mingled up together sounds like good times. Plus, the woman who writes this blog has a beet tattoo, so you know she’s serious about her root veggies.
Gingered rhubarb apple crisp from Chow Times: I’m sure everyone already has a favourite rhubarb crisp/crumble recipe, but this one looked particularly awesome, so I figured I’d throw it into the mix. I’m trying this one out today!