Monday, June 4, 2012

Spring rhubarb

Here in the Bulkley Valley, spring has sprung and my rhubarb patch is hastily producing some tangy red stalks to tempt me. One of my fondest memories growing up was sitting on the back steps at my house with a giant stalk of rhubarb and a little yogurt container of sugar. My friends and I would raid the rhubarb patch and dip the stalks in sugar, munching them down during the heat of the day in the shade of the house. The moment I discovered the rhubarb patch the first spring in my new house, I was elated!

Rhubarb is a great local food - easy to grow (seriously, I've never known a rhubarb patch to need maintenance of any kind).  In fact, I'm often completely baffled by the people who try to sell it at the farmers market or Safeway.  Doesn't everyone have a rhubarb patch??

So if you have a rhubarb patch, start raiding it.  Here are some great recipes to make use of that spring treasure!

Rhubarb Currant Chutney

This recipe comes from Epicurious and is wonderful on grilled pork chops, tenderloin or sausages. I'm pretty sure you could easily can this and have it for the whole year too.
  • 3/4 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 cups 1/2-inch pieces fresh rhubarb
  • 1/2 cup dried currants
Bring the first 6 ingredients to a boil in a saucepan, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the rhubarb and currants and simmer until the rhubarb softens. Serve warm with your choice of meat.

Dal with Rhubarb

This vegetarian recipe comes from Mark Bittman (of How to Cook Everything fame). It's super fast and very, very boonies friendly due to the use of dried staples and seasonal ingredients. In addition, it's vegetarian so you can help save the world just a little bit. I love it, but it's very gingery and tangy so hubby isn't a fan.  However, if you're like me and love a lot of flavour in your food, give this a go!

  • 1 cup dried red lentils, washed and picked over
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 1 tablespoon mustard seeds
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1 dried ancho or other mild dried chile (optional)
  • salt
  • 2 tablespoons cold butter or peanut oil (optional)
  • chopped fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish
Combine all of the ingredients except the salt, butter and cilantro in a saucepan and add water to cover it by about 1 inch. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat so the mixture simmers gently. Cook, stirring occasionally for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the lentils are tender. Remove the cloves and cardamom pods, and add the salt, butter and cilantro. Serve on its own, or with steamed rice or quinoa.
In case you haven't had enough rhubarb, here's a whole slideshow of delicious rhubarb recipes from Epicurious!

1 comment:

  1. I've already made a few harvests of my patch... this year I want to freeze a whole bunch of it so I can have it in the winter time. Ya I know... who actually buys Rhubarb? Its a downright weed here in the north!