I’m a big fan of eating what is in season, which means here in Seattle rhubarb from my garden and strawberries from California are ready to make a debut in my kitchen. Since my rhubarb was going crazy in the garden, I decided it was time to make something delicious out of it. My husband was giving me some hints as well.
I was first introduced to rhubarb in my paternal grandmother’s garden. However, the extent that she would use it was combining it with Strawberry Jell-O. It was delicious when I was a child, but my palette has grown quite a bit since that time and craves pies, crumbles, and crisps over gelatin.
Fun Finds About Rhubarb
Rhubarb From Danielle’s home Garden
Rhubarb in Haas garden gone to seed
Grandma Haas Rhubarb
Haas collection of rhubarb seed
I love knowing the history of plants and finding facts about them that I find interesting as I’m sure others will as well. Some rhubarb fun information that I came upon includes:
- 2700 years ago, rhubarb first appear in traditional Chinese medicine as the roots were thought to be a laxative and was one of the first Chinese medicines to be sent to the West.
- The leaves of rhubarb contain poisonous substances containing oxalic acid, which can do great damage to the kidneys. Humans were poisoned during World War I when Britain recommended the leaves as a food source. The reason the petioles (or stalks) are edible is that the percentage of oxalic acid is much smaller.
- For children in the UK, tender stalks of rhubarb dipped in sugar were a common treat in days past. This is still common in western Finland, Norway, Iceland, Sweden as well as other parts of the world. I’ll have to give this a try!
- Not all rhubarb has red petioles (stalks), my rhubarb has green, but there is also some that are light pink.
Now let’s move along to the main event – Rhubarb-Strawberry Crumble!
Garden Fresh Rhubarb-Strawberry Crumble
Serve Dessert with Ice Cream
Garden Fresh Rhubarb-Strawberry Crumble Recipe
2 cups of chopped rhubarb stalk
2 cups of strawberries, hulled and quartered
¾ cups white sugar
½ tsp lemon zest
½ tsp orange zest (or orange marmalade works)
½ tbsp cornstarch
1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup brown sugar, packed
¼ tsp salt
6 tbsp cold, unsalted butter
Vanilla Ice Cream, optional, but not in my opinion!
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
On stovetop, place rhubarb, strawberries, sugar, zests in a saucepan.
Dissolve the cornstarch in a bit of juice from the orange – taking care there are no lumps – then add to saucepan. Heat over stove until mixture starts to thicken and rhubarb becomes tender. This is the time to taste test and see if more sugar is needed to make it sweeter for your taste or cornstarch is needed to make it thicker. Depending on the water content in the fruit – more cornstarch may be needed.
While your fruit mixture is working on the stove, start preparing your crumb topping. Combine flour, brown sugar, salt and butter in the mixing bowl. With a fork or your fingers, press the mixture together until it all becomes incorporated. This can be done in a food processor as well, if preferred. Recommend tasting this mixture as well to see if it meets your liking – if not, add more sugar or salt. Some spices would be lovely as well such as cinnamon or fresh ground nutmeg, but absolutely optional.
Once your fruit and topping are ready, place in an 8-inch x 8-inch Pyrex dish. Placing fruit on the bottom and then crumbling your flour mixture over the top. Next place in your 350-degree oven for about 25 to 35 minutes. At this point, you are only baking and browning the crumb topping since your fruit is already soft (or to the texture consistency that you prefer).
Let cool for 10 to 15 minutes – then dish up with a side of vanilla ice cream and let the spring food celebration begin.
Be sure to come back for more great recipes! BrenHaas.com
Modified recipe from Ina Garten
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I would love to hear from you so be sure to comment below and tell me what you think of rhubarb. DO you grow it? Did you try this recipe? Don’t forget you can reach out to me and write a personal note on my contact page featured on this site.
Happy Rhubarb Picking and Eating,