The Puckering Pleasure of Rhubarb
by Holly Varni
July 16, 2013

RhubarbLazy summer afternoons have descended upon Moonberry Lake, which means rhubarb is abundant. People don’t think of it as a fruit and certainly not a vegetable, but a voracious weed that takes over your garden. The mysterious plant that’s strong in flavor and sturdy in structure, survives in both sun and shade, and is waiting to be picked.

The bountiful sight is unmistakable with its thick, crimson stalks and large, dark green leaves. It cannot be eaten alone for its extreme sourness. However, a copious amount of sugar tames it to a mouthwatering tart treat that’ll make you pucker with pleasure.

Sitting on your porch, watching the world go by while eating a piece of rhubarb pie, you think that life cannot be better. The sticky, red, syrupy goodness oozing onto your plate makes you savor the moment. All the contrasts of bitterness and sweetness dancing in your mouth, reminds you that there are times in life that are perfect.

A recipe from my great grandmother written in beautiful cursive, describes rhubarb as a “tart, refreshing, Summer time delight!” Below are her recipes, each over 70 years old.

It’s time for some rhubarb.

Fresh Rhubarb Pie

For mild flavor, choose the early pink rhubarb. If tender and pink, do not peel. Cut into 1 inch pieces. 1 pound makes 2 cups. Amount of sugar depends upon tartness of rhubarb. Early rhubarb requires less sugar. Make you pie shallow.

(This is for a 9 inch pie)

Filling: Mix together 1/3 – 2 cups Sugar, 6 Tablespoons Gold Metal Flour. Mix in lightly 4 cups of cut up rhubarb. Pour into pastry lined pie pan. Dot with 1 ½ Tablespoons of Butter.

Cover with Top Crust. Sprinkle with Sugar. Bake until crust is nicely browned and juice begins to bubble through the slits. Bake 40 -50 minutes at a 425 degree oven.

Rhubarb Bread

¾ c. Brown Sugar

1/3 c. Salad Oil (Crisco)

½  c. Buttermilk

½ teaspoon Baking Soda

¼ teaspoon Salt

Stir into Brown Sugar mixture – 1 egg, ½ teaspoon Vanilla. Beat well. Add 1 cup diced Rhubarb and 1 ¼ cup Flour.

Spray bread pan.

Topping:  1/3 cup Sugar, 1 Tablespoon Butter or Margarine

Bake at 350 degrees, approximately 50 minutes.