Rhubarb, the "pie plant"
is in the same family as sorrel and buckwheat - a vegetable usually eaten like a fruit. It's native to Asia and has been used in Chinese medicine for a long time. It's in season all through the spring and summer and its bright color and tart flavor are a welcome sight in CSA boxes.
If some shows up in your box, strip off the leaves - they're high in oxalic acid and mildly poisonous. Wash and dry the rhubarb stalks and store in the fridge until ready to use.
We love plain rhubarb stewed with vanilla and just enough sugar to take the edge off. Here are some richer recipes we're eager to try, too... It's often paired with more naturally sweet fruits that complement it in texture and taste, like in the Strawberry Rhubarb Pie and Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler from Elise at Simple Recipes. Apple is often used with rhubarb too, like in these Rhubarb and Apple Puddings.
We love the cake and custard classic trifle, and rhubarb is the perfect fruit for it since it cuts the rich sweetness well. Try Delia's Old-fashioned Rhubarb Trifle. This Rhubarb and Caramelized Almond Semifreddo looks fantastic, too.
What do you do with rhubarb in the summer?
(Image credit: Bainbridge Youth Services)