Saturday, June 8, 2013

Weekend Cooking; Rhubarb, sweet rhubarb

Even though the calendar says June Iowa is experiencing spring weather.  I have a light sweater on as I type.  Our old brick house stands on a very shady lot and our house is usually cool inside but this cool and rainy weather is throwing our growing season off a bit.  While the farmers are unhappy I'm happy to slow down our growing time as there are two spring crops that I adore; asparagus and rhubarb.  Asparagus is pretty easy to enjoy plucked straight out of the earth but rhubarb takes some time in the kitchen to bring out its essence.

My mom made me a rhubarb cake a few weeks ago; it was delicious but she didn't leave me the recipe and I wouldn't want to repeat anyway but I had several bags of rhubarb from my mom and my friend Janice that needed to be dealt with before we leave on vacation.  I know, I know I could have stuck them in the freezer to deal with later but frankly that felt like a cop-out.  I do well under pressure.

Two years ago when we had the pleasure of vacationing on The Outer Banks, NC my mother-in-law brought the MOST delicious rhubarb-ginger jam with her for our toasting pleasure.  I stumbled  upon this jam recipe the other day as I went through my recipe folders.  I made it that day adding almond flavoring instead of ginger because I didn't have any.  I made it again Friday night because the first batch was licked clean from its glass container.  The recipe is so easy.

Try it:

Rhubarb-Ginger Jam
(makes about 5 cups)

8 cups rhubarb in 1-inch pieces
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup crystallized ginger, chopped
zest of 1 lemon

Combine the ingredients in a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan over med.-high heat.  Bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.  Reduce the heat to medium to medium and cook at least 20 minutes (it may take a little longer) stirring often, until the mixture thickens and mounds on a spoon.

Store in the refrigerator or put in sterilized jars to can.

Changes:  I used brown sugar instead of white and I didn't have crystallized ginger but I did have ginger root so I grated it but used probably only two tablespoons.

And here is my mother-in-law's notes:  "This can be eaten warm as a compote or chilled as a jam.  I suggest straight out of the jar with a spoon.  It would also make a great topping for ice cream or cake."

It is just that good.  I love it on a good piece of wheat toast or straight out of the jar!

{big fat rhubarb-lemon muffins}

That took care of two bags of rhubarb but I still had one more large bag and I took that and turned it into delicious rhubarb-lemon muffins.  Oh, they are so good.  Groovy Girl's comment, "The rhubarb makes them so moist and the lemon makes them tart," as she gobbled one up for breakfast.  I replaced white sugar for brown sugar in the recipe as well.

This post is linked to Beth Fish Reads Weekend Cooking meme.  Click her link to find many other food-related posts.  Happy eating!