Rhubarb, for me, brings back memories of rhubarb and custard, or rather a 1970s BBC animated cartoon that I watched avidly as a child (showing my age now!) – “Roobarb and Custard“!
Why was I suddenly reminded of this old cartoon? The sight of fresh BC grown rhubarb in the grocery store which is now in season and can be found in stores and farmers markets until June [in the northern hemisphere].
Looking into this large-leaved red celery-like looking plant I discovered that it is actually considered a vegetable, despite it’s most common use in fruit pies and desserts.
Earliest records date back to 2700 BC where it was grown in China for its medicinal purposes. However, the leaves are toxic so best to just throw those away! Rhubarb is also useful in cleaning pots and pans, as an insecticide and even as hair colouring! More info on its other uses can be found here.
The traditional use of rhubarb is as a pudding ingredient and is often paired with other berries (particularly strawberries and raspberries) or with ginger, but is as just as delicious when simply stewed. It can also be turned into a preserve or a chutney, as it is a great accompaniment to pork, strong cheese or cold meats.
So I stumbled upon the following recipe for Rhubarb Chutney:
Ingredients (makes 2 cups)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 pound rhubarb, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon peeled minced fresh ginger
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
- In a saucepan, heat oil over medium. Add onion and cook until softened, 5 to 6 minutes.
- Add rhubarb, raisins, sugar, ginger, and cinnamon stick. Cook over medium, stirring occasionally, until rhubarb begins to break down, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove cinnamon stick and stir in vinegar.
- Serve with ham or pork and cornichons.
And also one for Rhubarb, Stem Ginger and Cinnamon Fool:
Ingredients (serves 4)
- 650g rhubarb, cut into small pieces
- 1 ball stem ginger from a jar in syrup, chopped, plus syrup to taste
- 1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
- Juice of ½ lemon
- Large pinch of ground cinnamon, plus extra to serve
- 250g very low-fat natural yogurt
- Put the rhubarb, ginger, cinnamon stick, lemon juice and a good splash of cold water in a saucepan. Place over a high heat and when bubbling, reduce the heat, cover with a lid and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes until just tender.
- Sweeten to taste with some stem ginger syrup. Put into a bowl and set aside to cool. Discard the cinnamon stick.
- Mix the ground cinnamon into the yogurt. Layer 4 x 250ml glasses alternately with the rhubarb and the yogurt, finishing with a layer of yogurt.
- Chill for 30 minutes and top each with a pinch of ground cinnamon to serve.
I hope that you enjoy them both!