’Tis the season for rhubarb to trot its feisty magenta self out on farmers market tables, and ’tis the season for me to get a flurry of texts from friends asking what they should do with the ten pounds of rhubarb they bought just because it was so pretty. (Who can blame them, really?)
My first suggestion is always this recipe for rhubarb cobbler, which, aside from being delicious, is exponentially easier to make than pie. (Strawberry rhubarb pie is great, but it’s not the only use for rhubarb out there, people.)
Another recommendation is to roast a few stalks, then keep them in the fridge to nosh on during the week. Big chunks of roasted rhubarb go great in salads, small pieces are a mighty fine addition to a fancy grilled cheese sandwich, and medium pieces can go wherever your heart desires. Once you taste roasted rhubarb, it will tell you everywhere it needs to be.
My final piece of advice is to fill the freezer with small containers of rhubarb puree (recipe below) so that you’ll be able to enjoy its flavor long after peak rhubarb season ends. Rhubarb doesn’t actually need to be cooked before freezing—you can simply chop it into bits and store it in a freezer bag—but I prefer pureeing it for two reasons: one, it takes up a lot less space (leaving more room in my freezer for pudding pops), and two, rhubarb puree can easily be stirred into sweet and savory recipes of all sorts. Since it’s already been cooked and prepped by the time I freeze it, it’s easy for me to pull out a container at any time to play around with in the kitchen.
Whenever the mood strikes me, no matter what season it is, I can add rhubarb’s electric tartness to vinaigrette, barbecue sauce, marinades, mustards, and dip. I can stir a spoonful or two into cocktails, mocktails, and drinks of all sorts. (Wait until you see how a mug of rhubarb hot chocolate can make you feel in the dead of winter.) Give yourself the ability to add a little bit of rhubarb to just about anything, and you’ll never need to text someone for ideas on what to do with it.
Start with as many rhubarb stalks as you like. Chop the rhubarb into small pieces and rinse under cold water, then put in a large microwave safe bowl. Partially cover the bowl with parchment or plastic wrap, then microwave in two-minute increments until soft and mushy.
Next, use a food processor or blender to puree the rhubarb until somewhat smooth, then divide into reusable baggies or small plastic containers and freeze.
To use, remove from freezer, bring to room temperature, and try adding it to vinaigrette, barbecue sauce, marinades, mustards, dip, beverages, sandwiches, or anything else you desire.