Ask Jen about rhubarb

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Jen,

I’ve never cooked with rhubarb but want to. What is the best way to introduce it to my very picky family?

-New to Rhubarb

Hi New to Rhubarb,

You bring up a wonderful memory with your question. I hope you don’t mind me sharing…

When I was a kid, my brother and I thought rhubarb was weird and refused to try it.  Was it a vegetable? A giant weed in the garden? A celery look-alike?  I mean, even the name is weird!

Grandma and our mom tried for years to get us to try it, but a wrinkle of our noses and an “ew” was all they got. “You’re really missing out,” was all mom would say as she ate whatever rhubarb recipe grandma had prepared that day.

Grandma cooked with it year-round; she and Grandpa loved it. The freezer was always stuffed with small packages of rhubarb from the garden. She made pies, breads, cakes, cobblers, puddings – you name it – out of rhubarb.

We were probably about 10 the first time we tried rhubarb. It was a pie, of course, with strawberries and plenty of whipped cream. Grandpa had been outside working when he smelled the pie cooking and came in. He told us to sit down, and placed a piece of pie in front of each of us. The deal was, if we didn’t want it after the first bite, he would pay us a dollar for the rest of the slice. A whole dollar!  But if we sold him the rest of our pie, we weren’t allowed to eat any of Grandma’s rhubarb treats again. This was going to be so easy! We were making some cold, hard cash, AND we never have to eat rhubarb again! Score!  We took a bite simultaneously. I looked at my brother and he looked back at me. We had a dilemma on our hands and we knew it.

You can probably guess how that turned out. Grandpa didn’t lose a dime that day.

So from experience, I would recommend introducing rhubarb to your family with a sweet strawberry rhubarb pie. Because after all, who doesn’t love pie?

Glazed Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie

Ingredients:

1-1/4 c Sugar
1/8 ts Salt
1/3 c Flour
2 c Fresh strawberries
2 c Fresh rhubarb, cut in 1″ pieces
2 T Butter or margarine
1 T Sugar
1 Pastry for 2-crust pie

Procedure:

Combine 1 1/4 cup sugar, salt, and flour. Arrange half the strawberries and rhubarb in a pastry-lined 9 inch pie pan. Sprinkle with half the sugar mixture. Repeat with remaining fruit and sugar mixture. Dot with butter. Install top crust and flute edges to make high-standing rim. Brush top of pie with cold water and sprinkle on 1 tablespoon sugar. Cut steam vents in top crust. Bake in hot oven (425 F) 40 to 50 minutes or until rhubarb is tender and crust is browned.

Go make something awesome,
Jen

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