Monday, May 21, 2012

A better rhubarb sauce


Rhubarb is a garden favorite for me.  It basically grows itself. I water it often during the hot dry days of summer. But otherwise, I leave it alone and it rewards me with a bountiful supply of tangy crimson stalks.

My rhubarb is crazy big these days.  I've been making rhubarb sauce almost daily. I pack rhubarb sauce in plastic containers with screw-on lids for lunches (I think they're Ziploc brand, got 'em at Target; they're 16 oz., but I just fill them half full).  We have rhubarb sauce with dinner.  I use rhubarb sauce as the base for a fruit compote to pour over pancakes.  And I use pureed rhubarb sauce as the base in homemade jello.

I never really liked rhubarb sauce until I came up with this rendition.  It's less rhubarb-y, in my opinion.  And the flavor is transformed with cinnamon (a lot like apple sauce) or orange zest.

A Better Rhubarb Sauce

about 5 cups chopped rhubarb (about 4 large stalks)
3 cups water
1 1/4 cups sugar
4 Tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup water
dash cinnamon   or  1 teaspoon orange zest

In a large (2 quart) saucepan, bring rhubarb and 3 cups water to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes, or until soft. Stir in sugar.
In a small bowl, blend together cornstarch and 4 Tablespoons water. Stir into rhubarb sauce and bring back to a boil.  Boil hard for 1 minute (until it's regained its translucency), stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Flavor with cinnamon or orange zest.

This makes 1  1/2 quarts, enough for a couple of meals in our house.  You can use arrowroot in place of cornstarch.  However, use less arrowroot. (I would think about 3 Tablespoons arrowroot would be sufficient).  Acidic foods require more cornstarch when thickening, hence the 4 Tablespoons.


We're about 3 weeks away from fresh strawberries in our garden, so the rhubarb, my super cheap bananas from Trader Joe's ( see post  5/3 Best deal on bananas), and bagged oranges from the produce stand (49 cents/lb. in a 10 lb. bag) are our daily fruit.  

2 comments:

  1. Mmm, love rhubarb, too! We just can't seem to grow enough, but I have experimented and discovered that replacing half the rhubarb amount with blueberries makes a super yummy sauce that I have to fight my kids for! (we live near many blueberry fields so we have a plethora of blueberries in our freezer).

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  2. That sound so yummy! I have blueberry bushes, but can't seem to grow enough of those! Wish we could trade -- lucky you! What I do add to rhubarb sauce, though, in summer, is raspberries. Our raspberry patch is prolific. And raspberry-rhubarb is a delicious combo in sauce, crisps, cobblers and pies.

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