Rhubarb might be a seasonal spring darling, but that doesn’t mean that everyone knows what it is exactly. Rhubarb is technically a vegetable, but is legally considered a fruit. In 1947 a New York court declared rhubarb a fruit because it’s most often cooked as one in the United States.
Rhubarb is sold at farmers’ markets and grocery stores by the stalk, like celery. It’s harvested in the spring, with a short season that spans from April to June. Rhubarb stalks are famous for their bright pink color but they can also be light pink and even pale green. The color is not an indication of ripeness or sweetness, like it is with other fruits. The stalks are the only edible part of the plant; in fact, the leaves of rhubarb are poisonous. Rhubarb is naturally tart — very few brave souls ever eat it in its raw state – it’s almost always cooked or baked with a generous serving of sugar. Here are some ideas for delicious rhubarb desserts!
1. Rhubarb Toaster Strudels
2 cups finely diced rhubarb
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon ginger
one sheet of puff pastry
1/2 cup butter
1 to 1 1/3 cup powdered sugar.
Dice up the rhubarb and combine with the sugar and ginger in a bowl, set aside. Cut your puff pastry dough into 8 to 10 squares. On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper lay out a square of dough, fill with a spoonful of rhubarb and fold over into a triangle. Use a fork to press the edges together. Continue until you have filled all the pastry squares. Bake at 375 F for 20-22 minutes.
2. Rhubarb Cosmo
Make rhubarb juice first by placing 1/3 cup of sugar, 1 pound of rhubarb, cut into 1″ pieces and enough cold water to just cover the rhubarb in a stockpot. Cook on medium high heat and just before it comes to a boil, simmer the rhubarb for an additional 30 minutes. Strain the rhubarb pieces from the water through cheesecloth to get a clear pink liquid. Cool to room temperature and keep refrigerated.
● ½ ounce vodka
● ½ ounce Cointreau
● teaspoon fresh lime juice
● 4 ounces rhubarb juice Combine all the ingredients in a shaker with ice, strain and pour.
Mix all the ingredients and serve!
3 .Rhubarb Vanilla Pound Cake
● 2 cups (240 grams) rhubarb, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
● 1 1/2 cups (300 grams) granulated sugar, divided
● 1/2 cup (115 grams) butter, room temperature
● 3 large eggs
● 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract)
● 1/3 cup (75 grams) sour cream
● 1/2 teaspoon salt
● 1 1/2 cups (190 grams) all-purpose flour
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Lightly grease a loaf pan.
In a medium frying pan, mix the cut rhubarb with 1/4 cup sugar. Over medium-high heat, cook the rhubarb until it is fork tender but not mushy, about 5 minutes. The rhubarb needs to be able to hold its shape or it will get lost in the cake batter. Set aside to cool.
In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter and remaining sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs one at a time, mixing well between additions. Mix in the vanilla bean paste, sour cream, and salt until uniform. Stir in the flour until just incorporated. Gently fold in the rhubarb pieces and any juice remaining in the pan.
Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and sprinkle the top with a tablespoon of sugar. Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
The Victory Park Farmer’s Market takes place every Saturday from 8:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. at the 2900 block of North Sierra Madre Boulevard. Call (626) 449-0179 or visit www.pasadenafarmersmarket.org for more information.