And it's one of those foods that people tend to love or hate.
Rhubarb was something I didn't grow up with, so it took me a while to jump on the bandwagon. Maybe if I knew just how tart it was, I might have started using it sooner.
Once you've made all the rhubarb-strawberry tarts and crumbles and pies that you want to eat, you might have some rhubarb left. A little goes a long way. Rhubarb butter - not like the fatty kind of butter, but more like apple butter or apple sauce - is a good way to use it up. It's simple to make, and it stores well in the refrigerator.
You can adjust this recipe up, down or sideways, depending on how much rhubarb you have. A pound of rhubarb will need 1/2 to 1 cup of sugar, depending on how sweet you want it. I'd suggest leaving it a little bit tart - you can add more sugar later, if you need it sweeter for a particular recipe.
1 pound of rhubarb
1/2 to 1 cup sugar
1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt
Clean the rhubarb stalks and cut it into chunks. Place them in a non-reactive pan, and add enough water to come about 1/4 to 1/3 way of the way up the rhubarb. It will release more water as it cooks. Cook, stirring as needed, until the rhubarb is soft.
Add 1/2 cup of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Taste and adjust sugar and salt amounts to taste.
Let the rhubarb cool for easier handling. Puree it in a blender, or use a stick blender or food processor, if you prefer. For a very smooth texture, pass the puree through a fine sieve.
Put the puree into a container and chill. Keep refrigerated.
But what can you do with this?
- Add it to sparkling water or seltzer for a refreshing summer drink.
- Add it to iced tea to make a Rhubarb Arnold Palmer instead of the traditional lemonaid version.
- Use it to make a sweet-sour sauce for savory dishes.
- Add it to fruit pies.
- Serve it over ice cream.
- Use it for mixed drinks the same way you'd use citrus.