Last year, I was lucky enough to inherit part of divided rhubarb patch that one of my neighbors was giving away. I wasn’t very familiar with the plant, so after transplanting it into my garden, I did a little research.
Apparently, as with so many things, we have Benjamin Franklin to thank. He is credited with importing the first rhubarb seeds to America in the late 1700s. And we are fortunate to have so much of it here in the Northeast; it doesn’t grow well, if at all, in the hotter parts of the country. Huzzah for New England!
Once I knew a little more about rhubarb, its origins and how to grow it, I started to wonder how I would handle the bounty of my harvest, as, before planting my patch, I hadn’t even eaten much rhubarb, let alone cooked with it. I quickly discovered that there’s nearly no end to what you can make with rhubarb.
Here are some of my favorite ways to prepare it, beyond the ubiquitous strawberry-rhubarb pie:
Rhubarb for breakfast
- Rhubarb oatmeal — Ditch the boring raisins and add some sweet-tart zing to your morning oatmeal.
- Rhubarb johnnycake — This rich cake could easily do double duty as both breakfast and dessert.
Rhubarb for refreshment
- Rhubarb syrup — Create a rhubarb simple syrup to mix with club soda for a refreshing cooler or to add to an exotic cocktail.
- Rhubarb vodka — Infusing vodka is simple, and infusing it with rhubarb turns it a lovely pink color to boot.
Rhubarb paired sweetly (and classically) with strawberries
- Roasted Strawberry-Rhubarb Jam –—Perhaps the easiest jam you’ll ever make — it takes a mere 30 minutes!
- Strawberry-Rhubarb Chutney — The sweet-tart pairing of strawberries and rhubarb is a great summertime complement to roast chicken or pork.
- Strawberry-Rhubarb Drop Scones — More substantial than cake or a muffin, these gorgeous scones are perfect with an afternoon cup of tea.Still not satisfied? Try the Rhubarb Compendium, which has recipes for using rhubarb in everything from baked goods to fish entrees — and even include a recipe for Klingon rhubarb bread, for all you Star Trek fans.
Apparently everyone loves rhubarb.
Photos by Julianne Puckett