Monday, May 14, 2007

Sweet and Sour Memories

I have extremely fond memories of eating partially frozen applesauce-style rhubarb at the kitchen tables of both my grandmother and great-grandmother (Grams). Grams had a rhubarb patch outside her basement door that supplied the whole family each spring. Unfortunately, Gram's rhubarb patch no longer exists, although my mother says there are rumors of new patches being started this year. May is rhubarb's prime month, although I think you can buy it frozen other times of the year, particularly at orchards or farmer's markets.

When I saw a small pile of rhubarb in the produce section this week, I could not resist bringing a few stalks home to experiment. (Rhubarb in the produce section kind of looks like celery although the stalk is fairly red in color.) I had never made anything with rhubarb prior to this week, but I quickly found that a rhubarb sauce similar to that of my youth could not be easier to concoct.

If rhubarb is a part of your childhood food memories, or if you're a fan of things both very sweet and very sour...

Cut rhubarb stalks into small chunks (I used 3 stalks -- and it made about two portions)
Put into pot on stove top and add sugar and water. (I used about 1/3 c. sugar and enough water to cover the rhubarb)
Bring to boil then reduce to simmer. Stir frequently, remove from heat when rhubarb breaks down into more of a sauce. (Less than 15 minutes)
*I also added a handful of strawberries about halfway through. Not necessary -- but it tasted good.

I think this concoction is meant to be more of a warm sauce to serve over a cake or ice cream. I'm sure that would be quite tasty. But I immediately put mine in the freezer, and ate it all in one sitting when it reached a slightly frozen/slushy consistency. We ate it like this from Gram's freezer all summer long as a side dish on the days we ate lunch with her after my mom cut her grass each week. I think a garden in my future will have space for a rhubarb patch.

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