The rhubarb is up. The sun is shining. But once again, the annual rhubarb fest at University Lutheran Church has been set aside.
The times with the lingering threat of coronavirus aren’t right for bringing large groups together for mingling. Still, these are days to talk about the rhubarb that has sprung up in gardens all around.
Pauline Bondy has worked many years with the rhubarb fest. And she says if the ground is dry, it’s best to water it before using a new rhubarb plant. In fact, she says it is best not to keep rhubarb more than four days in the refrigerator.
And she says. “If you add a pinch of salt to whatever you’re baking with rhubarb, it enhances the flavor.”
Rhubarb can be paired with most fruits with strawberries being the classic. Bondy finds that 4½ cups equal a pound. “Cut up rhubarb can be frozen in plastic freezer bags and labeled as to quantity.”
She says they can be kept up to a year. And suggests that if using rhubarb kept up to a year, it should be strained. Not squeezed.
The recipe for Rhubarb Crumble appeared in a cookbook printed in 1963 by women of Calvary Lutheran Church of Grand Forks.
Mix 1 cup flour, 1 cup brown sugar, ½ cup melted butter or margarine, ¾ cup oatmeal and 1 teaspoon cinnamon.
Press half the above mixture into a greased baking pan. Cover with 4 cups of diced rhubarb.
Combine 1 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons cornstarch, 1 cup water and I teaspoon vanilla.
Cook until clear. Pour over rhubarb. Top with remaining crumbs. Bake one hour at 375 degrees. Serve warm, topped with whipped cream, if desired.
Recipes for rhubarb are treasures found in wooden boxes or yellowed books. The recipe for rhubarb crunch is typical from days long gone.
- 1 ¼ cup flour
- 1/2 cup shortening
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 4 egg yolks
- 2 tbsp flour
- 1½ cup sugar
- ½ cup evaporated milk
- 5 cup chopped rhubarb
- 4 egg whites
- 6 tbsp sugar
Crumble ¼ cup flour, shortening and 2 tablespoons sugar; press into 9-by-11 inch pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 20 minutes. Beat until white and thick egg yolks, 2 tablespoons flour and sugar; add milk and rhubarb. Spread over crust; bake for 40 minutes. Beat egg whites with 6 tablespoons sugar; pile on rhubarb mixture. Bake until meringue is brown. Serve same day as baked. Bottom crust will soften if kept overnight.
Basic Rhubarb Sauce
Much has been written about rhubarb. But nothing exceeds a booklet called, “Rhubarb Recipes”, that somehow has been making its home with me for who knows how many years. It sits proudly on a shelf, and it was compiled by Jeanne DeMars Apple Blossom Books probably 30 years ago.
Along with everything there is to know about rhubarb it has a recipe for basic rhubarb sauce. It says to wash rhubarb and peel it if the skin is tough. Cut in 1-inch pieces and measure three cups. Add one cup sugar and a very small amount of hot water. Cover and cook slowly until tender, abut 26 minutes. Makes six servings.