Thursday, May 27, 2010

Rhubarb Season

It's rhubarb season. I love rhubarb. Raspberry rhubarb pie, rhubarb crisp, strawberry rhubarb jam. My mother makes a rhubarb sauce for ice cream. Yum. Rhubarb is expensive to buy in the grocery store, so for years I've been getting it from my father-in-law.  I finally planted some in the backyard last year but it died. Something ate it right out of the ground. It was a huge disappointment. I was really hoping to have my own supply. Did you know you can freeze it? (I shouldn't have told you because now you won't want to share your surplus with me.) Wash it and cut it up in 1/2 to 1 inch segments, toss it in a Ziplock freezer bag and put it in the freezer. I'm going to try again to grow my own. I'd love to be able to fill my freezer with it and make rhubarb desserts all year round. Just what I need...

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

(I never really measure when I make this. And you don't need to either. And if you don't have tapioca, you can use a tablespoon or so of cornstarch mixed into a little cold water for the thickener.)

4 cups rhubarb pieces (about ½ inch long)

4 cups sliced strawberries

1 cup sugar

Mix together in a large bowl and let stand for a little while.

3 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca

¼ teaspoon salt

Add to fruit and mix well. Pour fruit mixture into a 9 x 13 pan.

1 cup flour

1 cup brown sugar

¼ teaspoon baking powder

½ cup butter

1 cup oatmeal

¼ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

Mix together above ingredients, cutting in butter until mixture is evenly crumbly. Put on top of the fruit. Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly. Serve with vanilla ice cream.

I served this to a group of college students recently. Afterwards, one young man approached me.
"Okay, so what exactly is rhubarb?" he asked. "Because it looked like celery. I was a little nervous, but it was really good!"

 My father-in-law still talks about the rhubarb pie his grandmother used to make. Last summer I got the recipe from his sister and gave it a try. It was delicious. Since I never knew my husband's great-grandmother, I'm calling it after Aunt Marc.
Aunt Marc’s Rhubarb Pie

3 cups chopped rhubarb

1 cup sugar

2 egg yolks (save whites for meringue)

2 Tablespoons butter

2 Tablespoons flour

Mix egg yolks, butter, flour, and sugar. Add rhubarb and mix together. Put in a pie crust. (I like Marie Callender’s frozen pie crusts. I used to make my own. Not anymore.) Bake at 375 for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 350. Bake for 30 more minutes.

Whip egg whites with ¼ cup sugar and ¼ tsp. cream of tartar until stiff. Spread on baked pie and bake for 6 to 8 more minutes, until meringue is golden.

My neighbor, Beth, recently discovered a rhubarb pie recipe that has the egg whites folded right into the filling. Somehow it forms a delicious meringue-like top crust. She gave me a piece. Actually, she gave me four pieces, thinking I'd share with my family. I did. But it was hard.


  1. I too love rhubarb! My mom has a plant that is over 50 years old, and she just made us a strawberry rhubarb pie last Sunday. I told her that I wanted to plant some this year also. I hope it works! I am excited to try your recipes. Thanks for sharing - (what a beautiful picture of rhubarb!)

  2. OOOHhhhhhh thanks for sharing! I'm giving your recipes to Kevin - he's growing our own rhubarb in the back yard... Beth just told me about a yummy sounding rhubarb pie recipe today - if you're collecting 'em, you may wanna see hers...

  3. Your rhubarb might actually be still alive. Mine limped along on life support for several years, but it is looking incredibly lush right now.

  4. It was delicious! Marisa Bentley was kind enough to share some rhubarb with me a few weeks ago. Thanks for the recipe. I am awaiting another recipe for a Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble made with whole wheat flour and agave nectar to use with some rhubarb Sheri R. shared with me. Enjoying my first experiences with rhubarb! You inspired me.