Friday, July 16, 2004

Growing to Like Rhubarb

Rhubarb conserve
When I was little, we had a rhubarb plant in our yard and my Mom would frequently prepare some sort of rhubarb sauce or compote.  It was the only dessert I didn’t like and it seemed unfair to me at the time that rhubarb even counted as a dessert.
We moved from that house before I turned 7 and there have been very few occasions since then when I have eaten rhubarb.  Until just this past weekend, I had never prepared rhubarb myself in any form.  When I saw rhubarb at the farmers market, I decided it was time for us to get reacquainted.
I think there were probably two reasons I didn’t like rhubarb as a kid.  The first might have been the fact that it was so sour.  The second was probably the texture.  These days, the sourness would not be a problem for me, but the texture still might be.  I decided to stay away from compote recipes.
I found many tempting recipes for baked goods with rhubarb, but ended up making Rhubarb Conserve from Marcia Adams’ Cooking from Quilt Country.  It has rhubarb, orange, lemon, raisins, pecans, a little ground cloves, and lots and lots of sugar in it.
There was quite a bit of chopping, but once the mixture was on the stove cooking, it required only an occasional stir.  The conserve can be frozen, but I had some cute 8-ounce canning jars so I decided to can most of it.  There was about a half a cup that didn't fit in the jars, so I put that in the fridge.

There was lots of chopping to do...

...but once cooking, the conserve required only an occasional stir
I haven't quite figured out how to use the conserve yet - I'm thinking it might be good warmed up and used as an ice cream topping.  In the meantime, I've been snitching a little spoonful almost every evening.  It's tangy, sweet and spicy and I really, really like it!


Reid said...

Hi Cathy,

I've never had rhubarb before. I guess it's because there aren't very many Southern style restaurants fact, I don't know any! I've been told that rhubarb is quite tart. Is it? Now that you're made this, I'm feeling like I should try the raspberry and rhubarb crumble recipe that I have. =)

Cathy said...

Tart is a good word for how it tastes - probably better than sour. I'm really curious to try it in some baked goods, but I think that will have to wait until next year. I think the rhubarb I got was the last of it for the season.

santos. said...

mmmm. we used to get at least one batch in the stores on island, but it seems they've skipped it this year :-( we also used to get in flavoured yogurts from australia; my favourite was a little dish that had plain yogurt on one side and stewed rhubarb on the other. v. tasty!

Anonymous said...

Santos - sorry you won't get your rhubarb fix this year. The rhubarb and yogurt combo sounds good. Because of my childhood aversion to it, I hadn't really been on the lookout for rhubarb products before. I don't think there are many offered, but I may have just failed to notice them. I'll be watching now!