A couple days ago, I shared opening day at our local, northern New York Farmer’s Market. My girls and I managed to grab a big bunch of rhubarb for $1.50. Not bad, since I don’t know anyone who grows this delicious, though misunderstood vegetable.
Yes, it is a vegetable and while I was certain it had to be related to celery, it is actually related to sorrel and buckwheat, though a New York court deemed it a fruit in 1947, decreasing the tax on the plant at the time. One interesting and tantalizing bit is that rhubarb is perennial. This means all the time you spend caring for the plant won’t end in just one season, it will come back next year. Delicious!
After my first experience with this plant, I am determined to plant some in Spain. It didn’t take much research to realize rhubarb has a dedicated following. At the suggestion of a recent spotlight on rhubarb by Simple Bites, I decided to forgo the usual strawberry-rhubarb pie and create a compote to use on different foods. Then I saw this delcious little cocktail and decided to make some syrup as well. (For more recipe ideas, visit TasteSpotting and search “rhubarb.”)
After cleaning and slicing my rhubarb, I divided it into two saucepans, using slightly less required rhubarb for each recipe (everything turned out fine…just go by taste), added the remaining ingredients, and after a little straining and canning,
I ended up with these gorgeous beauties.
Honey Rhubarb Compote
The recipe I used for the compote called for beets, but I didn’t have any on hand. I was a little nervous about the color of both recipes since many of my stalks were quite green, but they both turned a beautiful pink color.
I suggest visiting your local market or sneaking into your neighbor’s yard to score some rhubarb. You won’t be disappointed by the distinctive, refreshing flavor. Below are the recipes I adapted from Simple Bites and Patent and the Pantry.
To prepare rhubarb for cooking, rinse well in cool water, removing all leaves (they can be poisonous). Trim ends.
Honey Rhubarb Compote
3.5 cups cleaned, chopped rhubarb
.5 cup apple juice
.25 cup honey
1. Combine all three ingredients in medium saucepan and heat to boil over medium-high heat.
2. Stir and cover. Simmer on medium-low for five minutes
3. Uncover and stir. Simmer on medium-low for 5 minutes. Turn off heat and leave to cool.
4. Spoon into clean jars or container and store in refrigerator. Serve over yogurt, ice cream, cake, whipped cream, oatmeal, or just enjoy from the jar.
Yields: About 3 cups
2.5 cups cleaned, chopped rhubarb
1 cup water
.5 to 1 cup granulated sugar
1. Combine rhubarb and water in medium saucepan and heat to a boil over medium-high heat.
2. Stir and simmer, uncovered for about 10 minutes or until color is pink and rhubarb is broken down.
3. Add sugar to taste and simmer 1-2 minutes longer. (Rhubarb is sour and should retain that quality, I used a little over .5 cup.)
4. Strain into container or directly into jar (I only had a small strainer on hand). Allow mixture to strain for 10 minutes or more to remove as much syrup as possible. Pour into jar (if needed) and refrigerate.
Use in drinks, drizzle over ice cream or even try it on your waffles.
To make a “Foxy Lady Rhubarb Cocktail”: combine equal parts syrup and vodka, pour over ice and add 1 part soda water (you can leave out the vodka, but I wouldn’t recommend it).
Yields: 1.5 cups syrup
Linking to Tatertots and Jello Weekend Wrapup Party