Valley Bounty, May 10, 2014: Rhubarb

Rhubarb thrusts eagerly out of the earth, as ready for spring as the rest of us. Of course it goes well with strawberries—and lucky you if you still have strawberries in your freezer. If not, rhubarb can bridge the gap to local fruit all by itself. The rhubarb recipe roundup below includes options both savory and sweet, mostly from local food writers. Yes, we have pie and cobbler, but also a rhubarb and beet salad, rhubarb lentil dal, and rhubarb lamb stew. Plus cocktails!

By Margaret Christie

Rhubarb Drinks: I like a rhubarb simple syrup in a cosmopolitan. You can skip the alcohol, too, and just mix it with seltzer. If you don’t want to make your own rhubarb syrup, try the delicious Rhubarb Rush from Bug Hill Farm in Ashfield—their list of markets and retail outlets is here.

Here’s a whole collection of rhubarb cocktail ideas.

Beet and Rhubarb Salad: This recipe comes from the UK. I like the idea of roasted rhubarb, beets, and Gorgonzola cheese, but will simplify the recipe when I make it, dropping the caster sugar and pomegranate molasses and substituting maple syrup and maybe a little balsamic vinegar on the rhubarb while it roasts.

Persian Lamb and Rhubarb Stew from Leyden Glen Lamb

Savory Rhubarb Lentil Dal from Happy Valley Locavore, the super local foods blog written by Meggin Thwing Eastman

Rhubarb Ginger Pie from Berkshire-based food writer Alana Chernila’s blog, Eating from the Ground Up


My very own Rhubarb Cobbler recipe. This dessert is on regular rotation in our house in May. It’s one of those recipes that is more than the sum of its parts, especially made with good local eggs and nutty whole wheat pastry flour. I use a recipe from the Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook that I was given when I was twelve.

1 cup flour
2 tbs. sugar
1.5 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
¼ cup butter
¼ cup milk
1 egg

Fruit Mixture
4 c rhubarb, cut into roughly 1 inch pieces
1 tbs water
1 tbs butter
1 tbs cornstarch
¼ tsp cinnamon
1 cup sugar

Put all the fruit mixture ingredients in a pot and heat (gently at first) to boiling; boil for about a minute. You can certainly decrease the sugar, to taste, or substitute honey or maple syrup. You can also leave out the cornstarch.

Mix the flour, sugar, powder, and salt. Cut in the butter. Add the milk and slightly beaten egg and mix just until batter is moistened.

Pour the fruit into an 8×8 ovenproof dish. Drop the topping mixture on top, forming biscuit-like blobs. Bake at 350° until biscuits are golden brown.

You can substitute almost any fruit for the rhubarb, just vary the sugar according to the sweetness of the fruit.