Thursday, May 8, 2008

My first rhubarb experience


Call me geeky, but once in a while I go to the store and purchase produce that I have never cooked before and test out a recipe. It's quite silly because sometimes I am not even certain what the item is supposed to taste like. This week, I decided to purchase rhubarb. I've always heard of rhubarb and strawberry pies and that the leaves contain oxalic acid which is poisonous. In my twenty-six years of existence, I have never tasted this magenta celery-like vegetable.
I decided to make a dessert. I'm more of a crumble than a pie fan, so decided upon a rhubarb crumble. Then I started thinking about using puff pastry and rhubarb to make a flaky dessert.

I began by tasting the raw fruit and decided that it must be a cousin to celery. It is just as crispy as celery but has a tartness to it. This got me thinking, "How and why did people start using rhubarb as a pie filling?"
According to Wikipedia rhubarb was used for medicinal purposes in China and then was eaten with sugar in England in the 17th century. Then in the 1820's it introduced on the East Coast and made it's way West. I guess it did not travel to Hawaii yet, because you rarely see rhubarb products in Hawaii.

I ate the rhubarb puffs warm and it was quite tasty. Then I realized that I was pretty much consuming sugar with a little bit of rhubarb.

In conclusion, I am not a fan of rhubarb. It has a beautiful color, but in order to enjoy it, you have to mask it with massive amounts of sugar. But if I'm bored one day I'll cut up some celery and mix it with sugar and bake it in a crumble...

4 comments:

Diana said...

I never had rhubarb until last year. My husband's mom grows it and gave me several stalks. I actually really liked it. I made a yummy crumble, a syrup for ice cream and a cake. I used less sugar than the recipes normally call for because I like tart foods.

Erika said...

i think it lends a tartness that celery would distinctly lack, but seeing as we've had those discussions about mock apple pie and whatnot, i would be interested to see how a mock rhubarb pie with celery would turn out. greetings from japan, btw.

Diana said...

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that in making the syrup, my mom-in-law said she adds some salt and then cuts the sugar in half. That seemed to work.

just me said...

thanks for the info. on rhubarb. i think i'll go buy a few stalks from the farmer's market this saturday and try it out. maybe i'll buy some celery and add some citric acid to it...