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Cooking with Rhubarb

By Emmy Ingham MS, RD - your resident Garden Manager


Rhubarb growing in a garden.


Spring has sprung and longer days are here. Hoping you are all in your garden enjoying

some fresh greens and perhaps a radish or two! This is an exciting time of year. Trees are budding and we are able to get warm season plants into the dirt that will become fruitful later in the summer. As for now, we get to delight in our earlier season efforts. Rhubarb is spring perennial that is ready for harvest now. If you have it in your garden, congrats! And if you don’t not to worry, it can be found in your grocery or perhaps a kind neighbor has more than they need.


This plant comes from the buckwheat family, but we eat only the stems and toss the gigantic leaves. While typically associated with pie, you can incorporate it into breads and cakes, sweets and use it as a sauce, or cook with sugar, strain and drink it as a refreshing juice. Few people eat much rhubarb as a raw vegetable. While juicy and crisp, it is very sour.


Here are two recipes both from America’s Test Kitchen that take advantage of rhubarb’s versatility on your plate!


Happy cooking!


RHUBARB JAM

Serves 16 (Makes two 1-pint jars)

1 hour, plus 12 hours chilling


Ingredients

• 2 pounds rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 1⁄2-inch pieces (7 cups)

• 3 cups (21 ounces) sugar

• 2⁄3 cup lemon juice (4 lemons)

In addition to sweet applications, this jam is great on a cheese board or added to a glaze for pork or duck.


Instructions

  1. Place 2 small plates in freezer to chill. Combine rhubarb, sugar, and lemon juice in Dutch oven and bring to boil over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring often, until rhubarb is softened, about 5 minutes. Using potato masher, crush rhubarb gently, leaving some larger pieces intact. Simmer vigorously, stirring often and adjusting heat as needed to avoid scorching and splattering, until mixture is reduced by about half and registers 215 degrees, 18 to 20 minutes. Remove pot from heat.

  2. To test consistency, place 1 teaspoon jam on chilled plate and freeze for 2 minutes. Drag your finger through jam on plate; jam has correct consistency when your finger leaves distinct trail. If jam is runny, return pot to heat and continue to simmer 1 to 3 minutes longer before retesting with second plate.

  3. Place 2 pint jars in bowl and place under hot running water until heated through, 1 to 2 minutes; shake dry.

  4. Using funnel and ladle, portion hot jam into hot jars. Let jam cool completely; cover; and refrigerate until jam is set, 12 to 24 hours. (Jam can be refrigerated for up to 2 months.)


QUICK SWEET PICKLED RHUBARB

Serves 8 (Makes 1 pint)

15 minutes, plus 26 hours cooling and pickling


Ingredients

• 8 ounces rhubarb, trimmed and sliced on bias 1/8 inch thick (about 2 cups)

• 1 (3-inch) strip lemon zest

• 2⁄3 cup sugar

• 1⁄2 cup water

• 1⁄2 cup red wine vinegar

• 1⁄2 teaspoon table salt

Serve the pickles on a charcuterie or cheese platter, in a salad or grain bowl, or as a chopped relish on a sandwich, or eat them straight out of the jar.

Instructions

  1. Combine rhubarb and lemon zest in 1-pint glass jar with tight-fitting lid. Combine sugar, water, vinegar, and salt in small saucepan and bring to boil over medium-high heat. Pour brine into jar, making sure all rhubarb is submerged. Let cool completely, about 2 hours.

  2. Affix jar lid and refrigerate for at least 24 hours before serving. (Pickles can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.)

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