Sunday, May 23, 2010

How does your garden grow? Part 11: Rhubarb.

When I think Rhubarb I think of my great grandmother. She always grew this old fashioned plant in her backyard. I bet a lot of you are reminded of the women in your family when you think Rhubarb. It brings good memories of pies, jams and crisps. 

Rhubarb is actually a perennial vegetable, but has been deemed a fruit for ages. It has been used for centuries for it's medicinal qualities, but I can only share with you recipes from my kitchen usually involving strawberries and a lot of sugar.  The part of the Rhubarb that is consumed is the stalk. You can see this in the picture I snapped this evening (see above). Isn't it a pretty sight? I love the rosy reds and green. Rhubarb reminds me of celery. It's kind of stringy, crunchy and it can be green. It's very versatile. You can freeze it, can it, bake it or even boil it down. I have even heard of punches and syrups being made from Rhubarb. I have only made jam and crisps. I can't wait to try many new recipes.

Here is one of my favorite recipes.

Rhubarb Crunch
•2 cups flour

•1 cup rolled oat

•1 1/2 cups brown sugar

•1/4 teaspoon salt

•1 cup butter

•6 cups diced rhubarb

•1 teaspoon cinnamon

•1 1/2 cups sugar

•4 tablespoons cornstarch

•1/2 cup water

•1 teaspoon vanilla

•1/2 teaspoon red food coloring

 Preheat oven to 400; grease 11x7x1 1/2" baking dish.

In mixing bowl combine flour, oats, brown sugar and salt.

Cut in butter until mixture resembles fine crumbs; reserve 1 cup crumbs; press remaining crumbs into baking dish.

Arrange rhubarb on crumbs.

In small saucepan combine cinnamon, sugar and cornstarch; stir in water; cook over medium heat stirring constantly until thickened.

Remove from heat; stir in vanilla and food coloring.

Pour on rhubarb; sprinkle with reserved crumbs.

Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes; turn temperature to 325; bake for 40 minutes longer.


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