Rhubarb

Rhubarb is a perennial plant grown in cooler climates.  It has been around for several hundred years, and is sometimes called "pie plant".  The stems are the edible part; the leaves are poisonous.  It comes up early in the spring from a crown of thick roots, grows quickly, and dies back late in the fall.   Rhubarb is picked only in the spring and early summer when it is most juicy and the stems are hard and crisp.  Later the leaves turn yellow and the stems become soft and it is no longer satisfactory for eating.  In Colonial times it was often used as a spring tonic, as it is a mild laxative.  It is most often served cooked in sauce, pies, or cobblers, but some people eat it raw, dipped in a little salt.  However, it is very tart (sour), and most people would rather eat it sweetened.

Preparation:

To prepare rhubarb, wash and trim the stems.  Be sure to remove all of the leaves, because they are poisonous.  The pink and white parts at the base of the stem are good, and make a pink color when cooked.  For most recipes, rhubarb is chopped in " to " pieces.  One pound of rhubarb yields about 3 cups of chopped rhubarb.  Rhubarb can be frozen raw and chopped, but it takes up a lot of freezer space like that, so it is probably best to make the sauce and then freeze that. It is very tart and sugar is necessary--how much depends on your taste.  Later in the season the stems are not as juicy so you must adjust the amount of liquid or thickening in your recipe.

Storage: Rhubarb will keep a week or more wrapped in plastic (or in some sort of sealed plastic container) and refrigerated

Rhubarb Sauce

From Ann Putman

Yields about 4 cups

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. rhubarb about 3 cups chopped in " pieces
  •   cup sugar
  •   cup water
  • 1 Tbs. vegetable oil or butter

Method:

  • Put all ingredients in a medium sized saucepan.  Stir. Bring to boil with medium heat stirring occasionally.  Turn down heat and simmer for about 10 minutes or until soft.
  • Serve warm or chilled.

Rhubarb Kuchen

From Ann Putman

Yields two 12" X 15" jelly roll pans

Ingredients:

  • Rhubarb, about 1 lb. of " thick stems.
  • 2 envelopes (2 Tbs.) dried yeast
  • 1 cup milk
  •   cup butter
  •   cup sugar
  •   tsp. salt
  •  2 eggs, beaten
  •  3 cups flour (approximately)

Method:

  • Wash and trim rhubarb stems of about " thickness and cut into 1 inch pieces.
  • Soften 2 envelopes (2Tbs.) of dried yeast in 2 Tbs. of warm water and 1 Tbs. of sugar. 
  • Scald the milk.  Add the butter, sugar and salt. Allow to cool.
  • Beat the eggs and add to the milk.
  • Add the yeast mixture and enough flour to form a soft dough (3 to 3 cups).
  • Turn out onto counter and knead until dough is smooth, soft and not sticky.
  • Set to rise about 1 hours, or until doubled.
  • Punch down and divide into two portions. Spread dough out into 2 12"x15" jelly roll pans.
  • Spread with soft butter and sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar mixture. Place rhubarb pieces in rows with  small spaces in between and sprinkle again with cinnamon-sugar mix.  Let rise about 1 hour, then bake @ 375 for about 20 minutes, or until fruit is cooked and dough is nicely browned.  Cut into rectangular pieces and serve warm or cold.  Good for breakfast, coffee break or dessert.  Apple wedges, peach slices, or quartered fresh prune plums can also be used.

Rhubarb Crisp

Yields one 9"X 9" baking dish

Ingredients:

  •      4 cups prepared rhubarb  (" pieces)
  •      2 Tbs. sugar
  • Crumb Mixture:
  •       2 Tbs. soft butter
  •       cup flour
  •       ⅓ cup sugar
  •       tsp. cinnamon

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 375 F
  • Stir with a fork the butter, flour, sugar and cinnamon (like a pastry dough)
  • Spread prepared rhubarb  into a 9" square baking dish. Sprinkle with 2 Tbs. sugar.
  • Top with the crumb mixture
  • Bake @ 375F for 20-30 minutes, until rhubarb is soft and crumbs are browned. Serve warm

Fresh Rhubarb Pie

Taken from Betty Crocker's Picture Cook Book 2nd edition, 1956

yields one 9" or 8" double crust pie

Ingredients:

      For 9" Pie

  • 1 to 2 cups sugar
  • ⅓ cup flour 
  •   tsp. cinnamon or cardamom
  •  4 cups prepared rhubarb
  • For 8” Pie

  • 3/4 to 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 c flour
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon or cardamon
  • 3 c prepared rhubarb

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 400 F
  • Prepare crust for two-crust pie.  Line the pie pan with bottom crust.
  • Mix together the flour, sugar and spices.  Add the chopped rhubarb and stir well.
  • Pour into pie shell and dot with 1 Tbs. butter.
  • Cover with top shell
  • Bake @ 400 F  40-50 minutes.

Rhubarb Custard Pie

Taken from Betty Crocker's Picture Cook Book 2nd edition, 1956

Yields 1 pie

Ingredients:

       For 9" Pie                                             For 8" Pie

  • 3 eggs                                                   2 eggs
  • 3 Tbs. milk                                          2 Tbs. milk
  • 2 cups sugar  (or less)                     1 cups sugar
  •   cup flour                                        3 Tbs. flour
  •   tsp. nutmeg                                    tsp. nutmeg
  •  4 cups prepared rhubarb              3 cups prepared rhubarb

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 400F
  • Prepare crust for single-crust pie.  Line pan with crust.
  • Beat the eggs. Add the milk and mix well.
  • Stir in sugar, flour and spices.
  • Add  rhubarb, stir.
  • Pour into pastry-lined pan.
  • Dot with butter.
  • Cover with lattice top or leave open.  For lattice you will need pastry for a two-crust pie.
  • Bake @ 400 F until set and nicely browned, about 40-50 minutes.

Rhubarb Upside-down Cake

Yields one 9"X 9" cake

Ingredients:

  • Rhubarb (about 1 lb.)
  • brown sugar
  • melted butter
  • Your favorite yellow or white cake mix.

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 375 F
  • Wash and trim rhubarb stems at least " thick and chop into 1" pieces.
  • Grease sides of  9" square cake pan.  Cover bottom  with brown sugar and moisten with melted butter. 
  • Place pieces of rhubarb in rows on top of the sugar mixture. 
  • Cover with white or yellow cake batter.  Bake @ 375F  for 35-40 minutes.

Rhubarb Cobbler

Yields one 9" X  9" cobbler

Taken from Betty Crocker's Psicture Cook Book 2nd edition, 1956

Peaches, sour cherries, blackberries, or blueberries can also be used.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups prepared fresh rhubarb
  • cup of sugar and 1 Tbs. tapioca.
  • ⅓ cup butter or margarine
  • cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  •  1 tsp. vanilla
  •   cup flour
  •  2 tsp baking powder
  •  ⅓ cup dried milk
  •   tsp salt
  • Method:
  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • Mix together 1/4 c. sugar and tapioca.
  • Cream together the butter and 1/2 c. sugar. Beat in egg.
  • Mix together the flour, baking powder, dried milk and salt.
  • Add flour mix to sugar and butter with about 3 Tbs. water.  Batter should be stiff enough to hold its shape. 
  • Wash, trim and chop rhubarb. Place in a 9" baking dish and sprinkle with the sugar and tapioca.
  • Drop by tablespoonfuls onto fruit.  Keep batter out of the center and away from the edges of the pan.
  • Bake @ 350F  for  1 hour or until the cake is done.

Rhubarb Coffee Cake

From Agnes Kelly Putman

yields one 9" X 9" cake

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup prepared  rhubarb
  •   cup margarine
  •   cup brown sugar or cup plus 2 Tbs. honey
  • 1 egg
  • tsp. vanilla
  • cup white flour + whole wheat flour and wheat germ to make 1 cup
  • tsp baking soda
  • tsp baking powder
  • tsp salt
  •   cup buttermilk

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 350 F
  • Wash, trim, and chop rhubarb.  Set aside.
  • Cream together the butter and sugar.
  • Beat in the egg, vanilla, then add flour and wheat germ mixture, soda, baking powder and salt.
  • Stir in buttermilk and the rhubarb.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes.  Sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar mix immediately after removing from the oven. 
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