The Main Menu: Columnist is home from hospital and ready with rhubarb recipes to share

Jan Main has some rhubarb recipes ready for Beach Metro Community News readers to try.

By JAN MAIN

It has been a long time since I have been in touch with you. I believe March was the last time. I spent the interim time in hospital being treated for a virus.

When I got home on May 13 (in time to celebrate Mother’s Day.Hurrah!), the birdsong, flowers and bright green growth was astounding!

There, lo and behold was my rhubarb patch to welcome me! It had never looked so good: lovely long, red stalks juicy and full of flavour just waiting to be transformed into pies, crumbles and yes, even chutney. One of my favourites!

My mind immediately turned to you this month with Father’s Day around the corner and special recipes at the table. I hope some of these will fill the bill for requests you may have.

Dear Reader, enjoy rhubarb in all these flavourful recipes!

Rhubarb Chutney

A batch of this chutney is the perfect condiment for barbecued sausages, pork or chicken. It is also delicious with chicken burgers or the humble meat loaf. However, it is especially yummy served as an easy appetizer with cream cheese and crackers or sliced baguette.

If you have a large amount of rhubarb, feel free to double this recipe.

My grandmother gave me this tip many years ago concerning rhubarb preparation: once you have washed and cut rhubarb into the desired lengths, cover with boiling water and let stand at least five minutes. Drain and prepare in the recipe of your choice. This technique helps reduce the acidity and bitterness of fresh rhubarb.

5 cups (1.2 L) rhubarb cut into 1- inch (2.5 cm) lengths
1 cup (250 mL) chopped onions (about 2 small)
1 cup (250 mL) cider vinegar
3/4 cup (175 mL) granulated sugar
3/4 cup (175 mL) lightly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup (125 mL) each, raisins and currants
1/4 cup (50 mL)chopped crystallized ginger (optional)
1 tsp (5 mL) salt
1 tsp (5 mL) ground cinnamon
1 tsp (5 mL) ground cloves
1 tsp (5 mL) curry powder

Once you have covered prepared rhubarb with boiling water and drained it, place rhubarb in a large stainless- steel saucepan with onions, vinegar, white and brown sugars, raisins, currants, ginger, salt, cinnamon, cloves and curry powder.

Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to simmer and simmer uncovered 20-25 minutes or until mixture is thickened.

Remove from heat and spoon into hot prepared preserving jars leaving ½ inch headspace.

Screw on lids and process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Remove to cooling rack and cool. Check for seal before storing.

For simplicity, chutney may be spooned into clean jars or plastic containers and stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks or cooled and frozen and stored for up to one year. Be sure to date and label containers.

Rhubarb Crumble

Warm rhubarb crumble served with a dollop of vanilla ice-cream is one of life’s pleasures, especially tasty after a barbecued main course!

6 cups (1 1/2L) rhubarb, cut into 1-inch pieces, covered in boiling water as described, drained then prepared in the recipe
1 cup (250 mL) granulated sugar
1 tbsp (15 mL) grated orange rind
Crumble Topping
1/2 cup (125 mL) melted butter
1 cup (250 mL) brown sugar
1 cup (250 mL) each, all-purpose flour and quick oats
1 tsp (5 mL) ground cinnamon
1/2 cup (125 mL) slivered almonds

Preheat oven to 350 F 180 C). Spray a 9-inch (23 cm) baking dish with baking spray. In a mixing bowl, stir together rhubarb, sugar and orange rind. Spoon evenly into prepared baking dish.

In same mixing bowl, melt butter and stir in brown sugar, flour, quick oats, cinnamon and almonds. Stir until well combined. Spoon crumble evenly over prepared rhubarb.

Place in centre of the oven and bake 40-50 minutes or until rhubarb is bubbling and tender.

Serve warm with ice-cream. Makes 6 servings.


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