Rhubarb – The Pie Plant

One of the Spring rituals I recall growing up was chopping the celerylike stalks of rhubarb from the garden.  Rhubarb is typically quite tart and usually requires a form of sweetener.  The natural sweetness of strawberries allows for less sugar to be added so many recipes pair these two together. Rhubarb is most remembered for its delicious pies such as Strawberry Rhubarb Pie.  However, this veggie stalk has lots of options other than pies.  Muffins, sauces, jellies, syrups, drinks, strudel are just a few ways to prepare this healthy veggie.

This recipe for rose colored sauce can be eaten “as is”, drizzled over ice cream or angel food cake or try it over Greek yogurt or oatmeal for a morning treat.

Strawberry Rhubarb Sauce
1 pint strawberries, stems removed and halved
1 pound rhubarb, sliced into 1-2″ pieces
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup orange juice

In medium saucepan, bring the rhubarb, sugar and orange juice to a boil.  Reduce the heat, add the strawberries, and simmer for approximately 10 minutes or until the rhubarb and berries break down.  Remove from the heat and cool completely before storing in the refrigerator or freezing for later enjoyment.

Uncooked stalks freeze well.  Simply chop them into 1-2″ long pieces and freeze on a baking sheet. Once frozen, transfer to a zip lock bag or container.  This allows for tasty treats to be available all year!

I took a little trip down memory lane as I chopped some rhubarb and made these muffins. Maybe next time you are at Flowers & Thyme Bed and Breakfast, rhubarb sauce or muffins will be on the breakfast menu.  Enjoy!

Rhubarb Muffins

2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 cups diced rhubarb
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 TBSP melted butter
1/3 cup white sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350.  Grease two 12 cup muffin pans or line with paper cups.  In bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  In separate bowl, beat the brown sugar, oil,egg, vanilla, and buttermilk until smooth.  Pour in the dry ingredients and mix by hand just until blended.  Stir in the rhubarb and walnuts.  Spoon the batter into the prepared cups, filling almost to the top.  In small bowl, stir together the melted butter, white sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle about 1 tsp of this mixture on top of each muffin.  Bake in oven about 25 minutes.  Cool in pans at least 10 minutes before removing.

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