You heard me correctly.
Around here we pronounce the “h” in rhubarb.
(And by we, I really mean just myself. My poor husband walks around shaking his head at the ridiculous things I say all day.)
When we first came to look at our rental house it was 40 degrees, cold, and very wet. Nonetheless, the landlord walked us through the 1 acre lot, showing us where tenants before us had grown grapes and had a vegetable garden, as well as kept chickens.
What excited me most, though, was next to the small “chicken” shed, was a patch of dirt with what looked like tiny alien heads sticking out of the ground.
I find that rhubarb is one of those foods you either love or you hate. Or you have never tried it before in your life.
Rhubarb is technically a vegetable, similar to celery, but the stalks are most often used in desserts. Rhubarb is tart and lovely on its own, but pairs well with sweet berries, like strawberries.
My first introduction to this unique food was in the UK. While studying abroad, the university dining hall would often serve rhubarb crisp with custard (not ice cream!) for dessert. I was quite skeptical at first, especially since a British friend of mine described the taste as “making your tongue numb for just a little while but in a lovely way”. Fortunately, I got over that and took my first bite.
I LOVED IT.
I also forgot about rhubarb completely upon my return to the U.S. I had plenty of braciolis and sopressata to make up for it, though.
My husband’s family, though, grows and loves rhubarb, and since we have been married I have had to experiment with this tangy vegetable. I’ve made pies, crumbles, and cobblers. I’ve even tried my hand at some strawberry rhubarb jam (which was more difficult than I had anticipated).
When we found our little rental place we found there was a small patch of rhubarb next to the shed. That alone would have sold me on this place. I wasn’t able to grow rhubarb well in the south. I didn’t even have to start rhubarb here; someone has already done the work for me!
Needless to say, when our patch grew ripe (well, long enough?) for harvest, the girls and I were out there with a bowl and some scissors.
The first thing we made with our harvest?
Strawberry Rhubarb Smoothies!!
I was so surprised how delicious these turned out:
1 cup frozen strawberries
1 cup cut rhubarb
1 cup milk
honey to taste (we used about 2 tbsp)
Blend until smooth and enjoy!