I know many people who do not like or have never tasted Rhubarb. Makes me sad. Some people like strawberry-rhubarb pie, but won’t try it any other way. I wait all winter for the spring/summer Rhubarb. I buy it in quantity, cut the stalks into 1-inch pieces, and freeze it in one-pound packages using the Food-Saver thing. I am grateful that I then have enough to get me through the winter…
Of course, I don’t freeze all of it–I eat quite a lot when it is in season. I actually used to grown my own, but haven’t had any luck with it in my current house. Luckily, the nearby grocery store sells it.
The problem with rhubarb is that it is very tart and not too tasty by itself. Sugar in some form is necessary to make it palatable. (Some people eat raw stalks by dipping them in sugar a bit at a time.) Be cautious, though–the leaves must be cut off the stalks–they contain high concentrations of poisonous oxalic acid.
I eat rhubarb in two different ways… I include it in fruit crisp (apples, pears, cranberries, and rhubarb with a oatmeal-based crisp on top). It adds a special tang that blends well with the fruits. But my favorite way is to cook it down as a compote that goes great with ice cream and cheesecake, but is also delicious on its own with or without whipped cream on top. I have introduced rhubarb to many people who had never even wanted to taste it, and they end up loving it!
My recipe for rhubarb compote: 1 pound rhubarb cut into 1-inch pieces. 2/3 cup sugar. 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar. 1 tablespoon water. Combine the sugar, vinegar and water in small sauce pan over high heat. Stir constantly until the sugar is dissolved. Add the rhubarb, reduce heat and simmer, stirring often until the rhubarb has broken down and the compote is almost smooth (there will still be some small lumps of rhubarb).
Feel free to put some in a bowl while hot and gobble it up as is. Cool the remainder of the compote in the refrigerator and bring it out for a tasty treat or to top off a delicious dessert.
Grateful for rhubarb? YES!!! And thankful that I can share this with others who may not know the joy of eating this amazing plant.