Robust Rhubarb

‘Tis the season for Rhubarb – one of the great vegetables that starts appearing in April and is available until the hot days of summer. If you think of it as a fruit, you’re not alone. Given its uses in desserts and other sweet concoctions, it does seem more fruity than vegetal. It hardly matters – unless you are stickler for accuracy – its versatility goes far beyond pies, cobblers, crisps and compotes.

I often pair rhubarb with ginger – candied or fresh grated, and some variety of oranges – navel, mandarins, satsumas.

Since you can always find recipes for desserts that pair rhubarb with strawberries and other fruits, I am offering some different approaches to preparing this wonderfully versatile produce.

Rhubarb Strawberry Salsa

This is one of many salsa recipes using rhubarb and strawberries. It is from the blog Peaceful Dumpling.

—  1/2 cup rhubarb, diced
—  1/2 cup strawberries, diced
—  1/4 cup jalapeño, minced
—  1/4 cup red onion, diced
—  1 garlic clove, minced
—  1 tbsp olive oil
—  1 tbsp red wine vinegar
—  1 tbsp honey (raw, liquid state)
—  1/2 tbsp lime juice
—  1/4 tsp black pepper
—  1/4 tsp salt
—  handful fresh cilantro

—  Chop up the rhubarb, strawberries, jalapeño, onion, and garlic and add to a bowl. Mix together.
—  Add the oil, vinegar, honey, and lime juice and stir to coat.
—  Add salt and pepper to taste.
—  Shred fresh cilantro and stir in.
—  Store leftovers in the fridge for 2-3 days.

Rhubarb Sauce for grilled meat or fish

—  1 lb. chopped rhubarb
—  Juice of 3 oranges
—  Zest of 1 orange
—  ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
—  2 T. dark marmalade
—  Salt and Pepper

Cook everything in pot until flavors meld. You can add a bit of cumin if you want to give it a somewhat Middle Eastern feel.

Pickled Rhubarb

This recipe is from an Australian website called 1 Million Women. They are committed to climate action and will be pleased to receive any donations.

—  1 lb. rhubarb stalks, chopped into spears to fit your jars
—  1 cup apple cider vinegar
—  1 cup water
—  1 cup sugar
—  1 cm knob of ginger, sliced
—  ½ teaspoon salt
—  2 teaspoons mustard seed
—  ½ teaspoon black peppercorns

—  In a small saucepan, combine the apple cider vinegar, water, sugar, ginger, and salt and bring to a gentle boil until the sugar has completely dissolved.
—  Divide the spices up between the two jars. You can go crazy here – add star anise, cloves, whatever sounds good!
—  Pack your rhubarb spears into the two jars.
—  Top the spears with the pickling liquid.
—  These can be canned, following traditional canning directions, or for refrigerator pickles, stick them in the fridge! They’ll be ready to eat in 24 hours, and good for a week!