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Farmers @ Firehouse Rhubarb Rumble

OLD FASHIONED STEWED RHUBARB In general, each cup of diced rhubarb (anywhere from ¼ inch to 1 inch chunks) is combined with ¼ to 1/3 cup of granulated sugar. Stir to mix well, cover and allow to sit at room temperature for an hour to as long as half a day before cooking slowly until the rhubarb looks transparent and the syrup thickens. Add grated lime rind, cool sauce, then refrigerate. If you are not a lime fan, substitute lemon or orange. Or cook rhubarb with grated ginger root or candied angelica, a vanilla bean or star anise pod, cinnamon stick or freshly grated nutmeg. Amanda Hesser uses an infusion of bergamot-flavored Earl Grey tea and cardamom seeds. After rhubarb cools, strawberries can be added for a favorite combo.

RHUBARB GINGER JAM - Madelaine Bullwinkel, “Gourmet Preserves Chez Madelaine”      

2 pounds fresh rhubarb

8 3-inch strips lemon peel

2 fresh ginger root slices, the size of a quarter

½ cup water

2 ½ cups sugar

1/3 cup thinly sliced crystallized ginger  

1)     Rinse, trim and cut rhubarb into ½ inch lengths. Combine with lemon, ginger root and water in a heavy nonreactive 4 qt pan. Bring water to a boil, slow it to a simmer, cover and gently cook for 30 minutes. Lift lid and stir several times.

2)     Remove ginger root, turn up heat and begin adding sugar ½ cup at a time, waiting for the liquid to return to the boil before adding more. Continue cooking over high heat, stirring constantly, until jam thickens and reduces to about 3 cups. Stir in ginger pieces. Off heat, skim if necessary and fill hot, sterilized jars to 1/8 inch of top. Wipe rims clean, attach new lids and process in a boiling water bath, submerged by 1 inch, for 10 minutes. Makes 3 cups.

CRÈME FRAICHE In a pint jar, using a narrow whisk or fork, stir 2 tablespoons buttermilk into 2 cups heavy cream. Cover with wax paper and set aside room temperature. The next day, stir thickened cream again and recover. By the third day, the cream probably will have the tang you want (if not repeat the process). Put a lid on the jar and refrigerate.

RHUBARB STRUDEL - Ellen Ogden, “From the Cook’s Garden”

1 ¼ cups milk

1 Tablespoon cider vinegar

2 ¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

6 Tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature

1 ¼ cups packed dark brown sugar

1 large egg

3 cups rhubarb sliced ½ inch thick (a bit less than 2 pounds)  

TOPPING

1/3 cup packed light or dark brown sugar

½ cup old fashioned rolled oats

1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon  

Set rack in center of oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Lightly butter and flour a 9x13 inch baking pan, tapping out flour. Combine milk and vinegar and let stand until milk curdles (about 5 minutes). Mix flour, baking soda and salt. In a medium bowl, cream butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer on high speed until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Add egg and mix thoroughly. In three additions beginning with flour, alternately stir in flour mix and curdled milk, using a rubber spatula and being careful not to over mix. Fold in rhubarb. Spread batter evenly in the pan. Mix topping ingredients in a small bowl until blended. Sprinkle over the batter. Bake until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool in the pan on a rack. Serves 8 or more.  

RHUBARB MARGARITA - Mario Batali, NYTimes Chop 3 ribs of rhubarb and place in a saucepan with 1.5 cups each sugar and water. Simmer for 20 minutes. Once cool, blend until smooth. In a pitcher filled with ice, pour 1 cup each of tequila blanca, fresh lime juice and rhubarb purée, then add 2 oz. Grand Marnier. NOTE: puree recipe makes enough for about 3 batches of margaritas (about 4 cocktails in each batch).

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