Rhubarb may have come and gone in many places around the country, but here in North Dakota, June is peak rhubarb season. I’ve been trying to get my hands on some for a while now but haven’t had much luck until the last week or so then—Bam! Now I’ve got a fridge full of rhubarb.
I had my own rhubarb plant in the back yard when we first moved here. It was a pathetic looking thing but I lovingly transplanted it to a sunny spot and the next year it was looking much happier. It didn’t produce a ton—I think I got one pie’s worth, but what was there was delicious, ruby red, and sweet.
Before it’s curly leaves unfurled the next spring I spotted my neighbor spraying it with Round-Up and then burying the evidence with piles of rocks. Apparently I had transplanted it her side of the garage…where she had plans for a beautiful rock garden. I can’t be too mad at her about it, it was kind of her property; she felt badly and gave me these precious mini pie tins as an apology. But there went my rhubarb aspirations, now I’m just left pilfering from others—not that I would actually steal someone else’s rhubarb, I would never do that……ever.
The sour pucker of rhubarb makes it such a natural for baking. It begs for something sweet to temper it’s tartness and pies, muffins, and cakes all make wonderful desserts, but my absolute favorite way to eat rhubarb is in a crisp. The crunch of the nutty topping gives way to the meltingly tender fruit below, making an irresistible combination.
Strawberries are rhubarb’s most common partner, but I think floral apricots and rhubarb also make a lovely pair and you can always serve some strawberry ice cream on the side so no one feels left out.