Rhubarb – In Pie and Beyond

Oh dear, HOW has the time passed so quickly (as if gardeners didn’t know). I have now planted 6 kinds of peas, multititudinous onions and leeks, beets and lettuces and other comestibles galore, as well as the first  flowers. Also pruned and deadheaded and mowed and edged and…

Result: blog silence. And here it is time for the next spring fling recipe swap.

rhubarb custard pie

If asparagus comes, can rhubarb be far behind?

This time it’s rhubarb, about which I have had a lot to say over the years on account of because I love it. Please use the search to find everything or go directly to the Rhubarb Custard Pie pictured above.

That post has links to other pies, but if you’re interested in the garden angle

you might as well start with deep dish rhubarb-peach, which includes quite a bit of growing info.

The recipe swap originates with Margaret Roach, over at A Way to Garden (or at least it does as far as I’m concerned), and clicking this link will send you to the rhubarb edition, where there are more links to recipes aplenty, including a few for rhubarb dishes that are not dessert.

Not as many as might be nice, so I’ll try to codify something before the season is over, but meanwhile the thing to keep in mind is that rhubarb is lemonlike in its fruity sourness, so it goes well with fatty meats like pork, fatty fish like salmon and shad, and fatty poultry like duck, as well as rich vegetables like sweet potatoes and winter squash.

Preserving Rhubarb

The season is brief and summery, which is all very well in its way but then what about having Rhubarb Fool for dessert the day after Thanksgiving or doing Valentine’s Day Duck Legs braised and crisped over rhubarb sauce?

Fortunately, rhubarb freezes as well and as easily as berries. No need to cook it or pack it in syrup or any of that. Just spread in a single layer on a cookie sheet and freeze solid, then pack airtight in freezer bags (or glass canning jars if you’re having a plastic freakout and have a massive freezer). Chunks last a little longer than sticks, because they freeze more quickly, but given the press of spring’s endless to-do list it’s better to cut it in bag-length pieces than not freeze any at all.

Alternatively, plain old stewed rhubarb, sweetened to your taste and ready to go also freezes just fine, whether in bags, jars or yogurt tubs. Lovely spooned over oatmeal on a cold winter morning.

Rhubarb Fool

Ingredients: rhubarb, sugar, the best heavy cream you can get. No numbers or numbered steps needed.

Make some stewed rhubarb, sweetening it just enough to take the sour edge off (the cream will also gentle it, so it needs less sugar than you might think). Mix it with an equal or slightly larger quantity of whipped cream. It’s prettier – especially if you have pink rhubarb – to layer it in sherbet glasses or similar, more traditional to mix it completely. A little vanilla doesn’t hurt and will help if the rhubarb is particularly tooth-furring.

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  • Susan Scheid Said,

    Oh, jeez, and here I thought we were doing well by getting in a few lettuces! Guess we’d best get off our computers and get cracking.

  • Cynthia Said,

    I was skeptical, but made this pie for my husband. He now prefers it to regular rhubarb pie and I noticed that after two days, the bottom crust was still crisp. Great recipe!

    Welcome Cynthia
    Happy to hear the recipe is a hit at your house.

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