Springtime was rhubarb time in West Virginia. I remember running for the garden shed as soon as we arrived at Grandma's house with a salt shaker in hand. I'd pull off a stalk of that sour juicy stuff, sprinkle it with salt, and go to chomping. The only thing I loved more than that was the tradition of going barefoot the first day of May--running down the path with the cool green grass tickling our toes. Well, that was then and this is now-- I rarely take my shoes off outside, but I still love rhubarb season. Fortunately, Connecticut has some of the biggest juiciest, most plentiful rhubarb I've ever seen. I have a friend who gives me all I want and that is a lot!
Now there are two kinds of people, rhubarb-lovers, and rhubarb-haters. But I am here to say it is a very versatile stalk, and can even be used in a barbecue sauce in place of vinegar or lemon juice. Try it!
As I've aged, my taste has become a little more refined in the rhubarb department. I have several recipes besides 'sprinkle with salt and chomp'. My daughter, Becky, makes the best rhubarb pie I've ever tasted, and she shared it with me.
If you are interested, send me a message and I'll post the recipe. But as for now, I'll share the recipe for Rhubarb Crisp. It's easy to make and tastes so good you'll make it disappear faster than you can say "Jack Sprat." You can also pair it with other fruits such as apple, peach, strawberries, or blueberries. Don't forget to let the young ones help bake your rhubarb crisp. You can turn them into rhubarb-lovers too!
Hint: The rhubarb leaves are poisonous, so make sure the children eat only the stalks.
5 cups rhubarb, sliced in small pieces
Other fruit (optional)
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons water
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup old-fashioned oatmeal
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup butter (no substitute)
Mix first four ingredients and put in a large oblong baking dish. Mix all topping ingredients using a fork, fingers, or a pastry blender. Crumble over rhubarb mixture. Bake 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes or until bubbly and slightly brown. Great warm or cold with vanilla ice cream.