Growing up, I found rhubarb to be something less than food. I was rather disgusted by it and refused to believe that something that grew like a weed, looked like celery, and became mushy when cooked, was a dessert. Not acceptable.
I’ve slowly come around to rhubarb by trying a little here and little there at family functions the last couple of years. Now, for some reason, I’m obsessed. It really is so versatile and is free! (that is if you or someone you know grows it!) It is such a hearty plant and the fact that you can squeeze dessert out of it is major! It feels so North Dakota to me. It’s sturdy, constant (comes back every year), subtley delicious, inexpensive, and versatile. It is just such a thrify plant that when I saw they sold it in grocery stores this year, (I apparently was blind to it every other year) I could not bring myself to buy it. I mean, we have way more than we need from my parents’ one plant. (My parents and I live a few hours from each other now, but the idea of buying rhubarb just seemed so utterly ridiculous that I couldn’t even entertain the thought for more than a few seconds. I mean, rhubarb is FREE! Realistically I know there is nothing wrong with buying it but my childhood memories have just deeply engrained this “free” rhubarb principle in my mind.
While visiting my parents this past week, it felt oddly satisfying to go to the backyard, pull off the stalks I needed, and take them back in to prepare my dessert.
I decided to start with rhubarb crisp. Simple and delicious. Link to recipe here.
I also did some experimenting and made a mini batch of rhubarb thyme crisp. It was actually really good!
Then I decided to make a rhubarb sauce and vinaigrette I wasn’t really sure what I was doing, but it turns out that it’s not a total pre-requisite. I threw about 3 (maybe?) cups of rhubarb into a saucepan with a few squeezes of honey and 1/2c sugar and I just cooked it. We had some strawberries so I put in 3 of those sliced up with a couple of tablespoons of water.
It’s amazing how the texture changes. Rhubarb has a lot of water in it and practically disintegrates when cooked.
It was a fun little experiment that tastes great on toast or pancakes (which is obviously just a vehicle for the rhubarb sauce to your mouth that’s less trashy than simply a spoon).
I strained some of the sauce and reserved the liquid to make into a vinaigrette later.