Versatile vegetable

I am speaking of rhubarb. It may act and seem like a fruit but technically it is a vegetable and surprisingly in the same family as buckwheat, aka kasha. Mid June is both rhubarb and strawberry time and it is no wonder that they are so often paired together. I love making strawberry rhubarb sauce and frequently use it as a topping for plain cakes, such as pound cake or the coconut cake that I blogged about. I also like it with Greek yogurt, either a dollop of it on yogurt, or vice versa. It is a tangy sweet sauce, and I think it can also be a nice accompaniment to grilled chicken. It is probably most popular in strawberry rhubarb pie but this is the one use I have never made of it because so many additives are needed to keep it from becoming too soggy.

Making this sauce is very easy and there really is no recipe. I find the hardest part is not to forget that it is on the stove. Often I am reminded by the wonderful fragrance it gives off, hopefully before it begins to burn. The quantity of each fruit doesn't really matter but it is important to remember that it cooks down quite a bit. I usually use at least 4 cups of fruit.

Today I used about two cups of strawberries, sliced in half. I had two very long, fairly wide - may 11/4 inch - stalks of rhubarb. To prepare the rhubarb I cut the ends off and sliced it into 1 inch lengths. I find it slices more easily if I place the stalk on its side.

I place all of the washed fruit in a saucepan with 1/4 cup sugar and place on medium high heat. It is not necessary to add water because the fruit gives off a lot of liquid and there is already some on the washed fruit. I cover the pan and let it cook about 10 minutes, until it is bubbling. I remove the cover and leave on very low heat for another 10 minutes, or on a turned off electric cooktop. If it doesn't look thick enough, just leave it on longer. If you like it sweeter you can add more sugar, honey, or artificial sweetener.

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