Spring brings forward many wonderful things: lighter days, warmer temperatures (if you're lucky!), crisp greeness, fresh vegetables and... the arrival of rhubarb! There was a big rhubarb plant in my garden growing up, which I believe was once in my grandmother's garden, but once she moved we planted it in our yard and every year it gave us lots of wonderful rhubarb which my mother primarily made crumbles with. Sometimes we kids used to eat it raw; chew on the stalks and try not to make faces, since raw rhubarb is tart indeed.
I would love to grow some in our garden, but until that point, I'm so happy that my lovely neighbor has offered me some of hers! I usually buy rhubarb in the store around here, however it's nice to get some fresh from the garden!
I think rhubarb is so interesting, and to me it tastes distinctly like spring, because you can't really get it any other time of the year. And sure you could make some preserves, or freeze some chopped up pieces, but then it wouldn't be the same the few times in April and May that you actually have it.
Rhubarb is quite versatile. Even though I naturally move towards making crumbles (and it is by far my favorite way to use this fruit), there are so many different things you can make.
Rhubarb and apple crisp crumble
If you think of rhubarb as a version of lemon (it features a similar tart flavor) then you can also think in terms of curds and the kind of freshness it can bring to dishes.
Obviously rhubarb is a long stalky fruit, so you can also bake it as is and serve it just like that:
This baked rhubarb with whipped mascarpone vanilla cream dish was pretty awesome, if I remember right.
Of course, another way to go is to simply boil the rhubarb down with some sugar and vanilla bean, and thicken it with a cornstarch slurry.
Then you'll have a compote which is great to use for all kind of things.
Serve this rhubarb vanilla compote with whipped cream, or use like jam on scones or toast, or eat with ice cream, or eat with yogurt!
Why not make vanilla-rhubarb milkshakes!
Or, why not add some vodka and soda water for a fresh spring cocktail! There are lots of options in other words.
And it all comes down to rhubarb which is truly awesome.
Oh and I forgot - bake with rhubarb for heaven's sake! Add it to muffins, quick breads, clafoutis, cakes. Use while it's here because once the summer rolls around it won't be as easy to find, and if you do it will be stringy and not as delicate and fine.