The house I now live in once housed a little old lady. She liked owls and the colour green. And like most little old ladies, she grew rhubarb. Planted it, on purpose, pretty much in the middle of my backyard. And it’s very happy there.
So happy! It’s huge! And I wasn’t sure what to do with it. I mean, I’ve had rhubarb pie before, and I like it fine. There is rarely a pie I disapprove of. But this freakishly large plant is so daunting, and isn’t it somewhat poisonous? And, bleah, cooking stuff. I haven’t been in the mood. A strange admission for a food writer, but yeah.
In any case, I got a cheap pair of garden shears and I whacked it to bits, discarding the perilous leaves (and leaving them in an ugly pile in my garden. Martha Stewart, I ain’t.) Once safely indoors, I washed the stems and chopped them into 2 cm bits. Most recipes recommend boiling them in their own juices, which is a freaky thing. You just throw all the pieces into a pot with about a half cup of sugar and let it sit for a while until they BLEED. Then you can turn up some heat until it boils for a bit, then turn down the heat to simmer (covered) until the bits are soft. Taste it to see if it’s sweet enough for you. Then let it cool some. In fact, let it cool and put it in a tupperware and refrigerate it. Yeah.
It’s tangy and sweet. My mom gave me some rhubarb compote just like this and said it that she eats it on ice cream. This is very good. You can also stir some into plain yogurt, or blend it into a smoothie. But my very, very favourite thing that I ate it with was pork chops. Oh myyy! So much better than apple sauce!
Did I mention that rhubarb is very high in fibre and (aside from the half cup of sugar) is pretty healthy? Oh, and that plant in my yard has grown back its severed stalks, and then some. I don’t think I hurt it one bit.