There has been lot of rhubarb in my life this month. It is all over the markets for about E1.65 a kilo (that’s two pounds-ish) and I cannot resist its glorious redness. I would probably never even have tried rhubarb if it wasn’t such an attractive… fruit?
I just looked up if rhubarb was a fruit or a vegetable. Guess what? It’s a vegetable, but in the United States there was actually a court case in 1947 declaring it a fruit.
Anyway, in my experience, if you’re not from the midwestern part of the US, rhubarb can be something you’ve heard of but maybe never come into direct contact with. I probably couldn’t have told you exactly what it was until a few years ago. (Tim, meanwhile, grew up with his grandmother in Indiana churning out rhubarb pies.) Rhubarb didn’t taste like I expected it to, because I expected it to taste like its visual relative celery. No way. Rhubarb is tangy, soft, delicious.
Using up a kilo of it, however, is still a challenge. Here are some things I’ve made with rhubarb in the past month or so.
1. Rhubarb curd shortbread. I’d never made a curd before. It was a little labor-intensive, but a good project for a Saturday. Shortbread, it turns out, is not very difficult at all. I am a fan of any “dough” which you just smash into a pan with your fingers.
2. Rhubarb Scones. Also very tasty.
3. Rhubarb Ginger Downside-Up Oatmeal Cake. This is my favorite, I think. I was a little skeptical when I made the batter, because it didn’t seem to make very much, and you’re supposed to cover the layers of rhubarb/ginger, sugar, and butter already lining the bottom of the pan (I used a Le Creuset dish in absence of a cast-iron skillet). I scraped every drop out of the bowl and into the pan. Despite my skepticism, the cake turned out well and 80% survived my “invert onto plate” maneuver. Sticky, happy goodness.