Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Rhubarb: one of those funny 'old fashioned' fruits/vegetables (in the USA it is a fruit thanks to a New York state court ruling...) that seems to have become popular again with the increase in farmers markets, community supported agriculture, and eating locally/seasonally. I always thought it was a New England plant - maybe native - who knew it is originally from China where it had a medicinal use. According to Wikipedia, the expense of transporting it across Asia caused rhubarb to be very expensive in medieval Europe where it was several times the price of other valuable herbs and spices such as cinnamon, opium, and saffron.

The question I faced earlier this week after making a strawberry rhubarb pie was: What do you do with the rhubarb that is left over? Here are two suggestions from the Mouse House:

1. You can freeze it (who knew?). Cut the rhubarb into small (1/2” to 1” pieces), place in airtight container, and freeze. I like to freeze rhubarb in two cup portions – perfect for the next strawberry rhubarb pie.

2. Stewed Rhubarb: enjoy this easy dish over ice cream, plain yogurt, as filling for pies and tarts, or mixed with granola. Here’s what you do:

1 bunch rhubarb, washed and trimmed*
½ cup honey
1 Tbsp lemon juice

Cut the rhubarb into ½” slices and place in a saucepan. Drizzle honey over the rhubarb and sprinkle with lemon juice. It is not necessary to add water as the water in the rhubarb will seep out as it cooks.

Cover the saucepan and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat immediately and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes.

If not using immediately, cool mixture then place in covered container and store in refrigerator for up to one week.

*If I only have one or two pieces of rhubarb, I reduce the amount of honey and lemon juice, usually by ‘eyeballing’ it. I have to resist the temptation to add  water as it makes the stewed rhubarb too wet.

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