Spring rhubarb packed with plenty of tasty potential

Rhubarb is one of those early spring plants that offers so much potential. The plants come back each year, like a snowbird friend, ready for an early spring visit.

Most families have their favourite rhubarb recipe, and Lexie Cole of Cabri, Sask., shared that her family always requests this recipe, which was her mother’s. It is delicious.

Rhubarb platza

Base:

  • 2 c. flour 500 mL
  • 2 tsp. baking powder 10 mL
  • 1/8 tsp. salt .5 mL
  • 1/2 c. butter 125 mL
  • 1/3 c. milk 75 mL

Combine flour, baking powder and salt, cut in butter to coarse crumbs. Add milk. Mix with a fork to make a crumbly mixture. Press into a buttered or parchment lined 9 x 13 inch (23 x 33 centimetre) pan.

Filling:

  • 2-85g pkgs. of raspberry Jello
  • 4 c. rhubarb, chopped 1L

Combine rhubarb and Jello in a large bowl, spoon onto the base along with any juice.

Topping:

  • 1 c. flour 250 mL
  • 1 1/2 – 2 c. whitesugar 375 – 500 mL
  • 1/2 c. butter 125 mL

Mix flour and sugar, cut in butter to a crumble stage. Spoon over the rhubarb filling mixture.

Bake at 350 F (177 C) for 30-40 minutes.

Note: To make a quick job of chopping rhubarb, try using the largest slicing blade on your food processor.

This family favourite muffin recipe was shared by Marilyn Wirsche of Hodgeville, Sask. Yield 12 muffins

  • 1/2 c. sour cream 125 mL
  • 1/4 c. vegetable oil 60 mL
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 c. brown sugar 150 mL
  • 1 c. white flour 250 mL
  • 1/2 c. whole wheat flour 125 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder 2 mL
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda 1 mL
  • 1/4 tsp. salt 1 mL
  • 1 c. rhubarb, diced 250 mL

Topping:

  • 1/4 c. brown sugar 60 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon 2 mL
  • 1/4 c. chopped walnuts 60 mL
  • 2 tbsp. butter melted 30 mL

Oil muffin pans or line with parchment muffin papers.

Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C).

Blend together sour cream, oil, egg and sugar. In another bowl stir together the white and whole wheat flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt. When well mixed stir in the fresh or frozen chopped rhubarb. Stir in the liquid ingredients, just until moist.

Fill muffin cups three-quarters full. Mix topping ingredients and sprinkle on the tops of the muffins. Bake 25-30 minutes.

Marie Gottsleigh of Balgonie, Sask., was looking for an old rhubarb orange jam recipe that her mother used to make with added sugar or sugar and pectin.

In Rhubarb More than Just Pies by Sandi Vitt and Michael Hickman, I discovered this rhubarb and grapefruit jam recipe. I made it using three oranges instead of the grapefruits.

It is a bit tart but has a nice fruity flavour. Yield five 250 mL jars.

Rhubarb and grapefruit jam

  • 1 1/2 lb. rhubarb 700 gor about 7 1/2 c.
  • 2 large grapefruit
  • or
  • 3 medium oranges
  • 3 c. sugar 750 mL

Cut rhubarb into 1/2-inch (12 millimetre) pieces and place in a large bowl. Add zest, the grated rind from the grapefruit or oranges.

Pour the juice and pulp from the grapefruit or oranges and the sugar over the rhubarb. Cover and refrigerate overnight. If using frozen rhubarb thaw before adding juice and sugar.

Place in a large, heavy stainless steel pot and slowly bring mixture to a boil, stirring often. When the sugar has dissolved completely, raise the heat and boil hard for 15 minutes or until set, stirring constantly. Use oven mitts to protect hands while stirring.

Remove from heat. Stir and skim off foam for five minutes.

Fill hot jars and process as described in the following recipe.

Rhubarb orange jam with pectin

The citrus and rhubarb combine to produce a slight marmalade flavour jam that is wonderful as a filling for layer cakes or served on toast or biscuits. Yield: about seven 250 mL jars.

  • 2-3 oranges
  • 5 c. rhubarb,finely chopped 1,250 mL
  • 1 pkg (57 g) Bernardin Original Fruit Pectin
  • 6 c. granulatedsugar 1,500 mL

Place seven clean 250-mL mason jars on a rack in a boiling water canner; cover jars with water and heat to a simmer (180 F/82 C).

Set screw bands aside.

Place sealing discs in hot, not boiling water. Keep jars and sealing discs hot until ready to use.

Using a zester remove the outer orange layer from one of the oranges, set aside. Squeeze juice from oranges into a measure, add some of the pulp and additional water if necessary to yield one cup (250 mL).

Measure sugar and set aside.

In a large, deep stainless steel saucepan, combine orange juice, orange zest and rhubarb. Whisk in pectin until dissolved. Bring to boil over high heat, stirring constantly.

Add sugar, stirring constantly, return to a full rolling boil that cannot be stir down. Boil hard, stirring constantly, for one minute. Remove from heat and skim off foam.

Ladle hot jam into a hot jar to within 1/4 inch (0.5 cm) of top of jar (head space). Using a nonmetallic utensil, remove air bubbles and adjust head space.

Wipe jar rim removing any food residue.

Centre hot sealing disc on jar rim. Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip tight. Return filled jar to rack in canner. Repeat for remaining jam.

Ensure all jars are covered by at least one inch (2.5 cm) of water.

Cover canner and bring water to a full rolling boil before starting to count processing time.

At altitudes up to 1,000 feet (305 metres), process — boil filled jars — for 10 minutes.

When processing time is complete, turn stove off, remove canner lid, wait five minutes, then remove jars without tilting and place them upright on a protected work surface. Cool upright, undisturbed for 24 hours. Do not retighten screw bands.

After cooling check jar seals. Sealed lids curve downward and do not move when pressed. Remove screw bands; wipe and dry bands and jars. Label and store jars in a cool, dark place. Adapted from bernardin.ca

Betty Ann Deobald is a home economist from Rosetown, Sask., and a member of Team Resources. Contact: team@producer.com.

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