It wasn’t long ago it seems that rhubarb was considered to be not much more than a weed. Certainly not worth the buck-and-a-bit-more it’s selling for at my local health food emporium. And never, ever, would it have been called organic.
At least that’s how I remember it.
Rhubard was something my grandmother grew in her backyard, in the dark and weedy corner by the garage where a pack of city mosquitoes waited hungrily for their prey. I have a vague memory of her taking me out there to show me the rhubarb. She bent over and pushed back the large leaves to reveal the celery-like stalks below before snipping them with a kitchen knife. Then, she cooked them up with, what she called, red fruit (currents and other berries she likely picked at our family friend Brenda’s place). I remember finding the stringy and bitter stew pretty unappetizing (and I was the opposite of a picky eater) and I hadn’t really contemplated buying the stuff until last year when rhubarb appeared with gusto at my brand new neighbourhood farmers’ market.
Now that I’m a locavore (and an adult), I love rhubarb. I love its tartness, its rosy hue, the way it melts from stiff and crunchy stalk into mellow, soothing compote.
So when my Fake Aunt Deb, who is a keen locavore, came over the other night for dinner, I prepared rhubarb for dessert (we had Rowe Farms roast chicken with mashed potatoes first). She arrived, however, with a jar of Forbes’ Wild Rose syrup that was too delectable not to open immediately. So I stirred in a few teaspoons before serving and WOW! The sublteness of the rose with the tang of the rhubarb sang in my mouth. Here’s my recipe.
5 stalks of rhubarb
juice of a 2 old and drying oranges (see my previous post about conserving food and using everything in the fridge)
1 tablespoon of honey or sugar
Some raisins left over from preschooler’s snack
Cook until soft
Add Wild Rose syrup to taste