Some foods evoke memories of simpler times: fresh creamed garden peas over boiled new potatoes; warm, juicy strawberries just picked from the garden; and tart red and green rhubarb. In simpler times people spent more time outside. Phones only traveled ten feet or so, tethered to the wall instead of our hips. Screen time meant sitting down with the family to watch The Brady Bunch or Hogan’s Heroes instead of eyes glued each to our own “device.” Technology is great. I use it a lot. But I like to get out to our garden and disconnect from the busy world around me. I often imagine my mom liked to get away from things as well.
In my rural home town there was a garden in almost every yard; and in every garden was a row of rhubarb, some with the signature red stalks and others green. When spring came it was one of the first plants to poke its head above the soil. Toward late spring, my mom would pick armloads of rhubarb and we’d have rhubarb at almost every meal. Sometimes it would be a rhubarb pie, other times rhubarb crisp, but most often it was rhubarb sauce.
Mom’s rhubarb sauce was pretty simple. I doubt she ever followed a recipe for it. She’d clean it, slice it, and cook it on the stove top with a little water and lot of sugar, sometimes a little tapioca to thicken it. We’d have it for dessert, over ice cream, or even just as a side dish. If it turned out a little thicker Dad would spoon it on a slice of buttered bread – almost like a jam.
I have my own row of rhubarb now and, like my mom, I’ve been making rhubarb sauce lately for our family. But I’ve changed it a bit. Instead of making it on the stove top, I tried roasting the rhubarb. What I like about this method is that it retains more of the shape of the rhubarb, I didn’t need to add as much sugar since roasting brings out the natural sugars in the vegetable, and it was easy to make. All in all, it’s more visually appealing, healthier with less sugar, and melded the sweet sugar and tart rhubarb together to make a deliciously tangy sauce that’s satisfying all alone or as a topping for ice cream or short bread. Read the rest of this post and find the recipe I have on over at Not Quite Amish.
What’s your favorite way to prepare and eat rhubarb? Share with us in the comments below!