Before I tell you about my new alpacas, I should probably help you out of your rhubarb emergency. If your rhubarb is anything like mine, you have to act now, before it takes over the planet!
This is actually the first year that I could really harvest my rhubarb (year 3). You’re probably an old hand at it, and don’t need my advice. But just to tell you, here are a few rhubarb tips:
1. Harvest it when the stalks are about an inch or so thick. Twist them from the bottom.
2. Don’t take more than a third of the plant at once.
3. Cut off seed heads at the base.
4. Don’t eat the leaves, as they are poisonous. Instead, feed them to people who do things like vandalize historic cemeteries. Or compost them. (Leaves and/or vandals.)
5. They say you can freeze it. You certainly can! Of course, you can freeze practically anything. How it comes out isn't clear yet, as I haven't yet used what I've frozen. There are a number of methods. You can parboil it, you can cook it and freeze it in syrup, you can coat it in sugar. I opted for the simple/quick way, as my first attempt: clean it, cut it up, and freeze it in a bag. If that works, I won't bother monkeying with other methods.
Here are the only two rhubarb recipes I’ve done. Well, the only two I’m willing to discuss. They were good. Probably, they can be made better, but it’s a start, okay? If you follow my recipes, you probably know that I don’t much like fractional ingredients, and so certain modifications have been made to the recipes I’ve researched in the process of developing these to minimize both the math and the number of dishes used in the process. Adjust to your own IQ and dishwasher capacity.
1 c. sugar
1 c. cider vinegar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground coriander (or whatever)
One thumb-sized lump of fresh ginger, diced. Persnickety people might measure 2 TBSP.
zest from an orange
4 c. rhubarb (chopped)
1 chopped onion
1 handful dried cranberries
Boil the first group of things. Then add the second group of things and boil those too, until it is thick (30 minutes). Eat on toast, or maybe with lamb, or in baked brie. Or whatever. This is so miraculously delicious, you could just eat spoonfuls of it.
Rhubarb Custard Pie
pastry for two crusts
4 c rhubarb, cut into 1/2" pieces
3 T flour
2 T milk
1 c. sugar
Put bottom crust in a buttered pie plate. Do NOT put lattice top on it first. This would violate the laws of physics and greatly complicate the world’s perception of reality.
Mix rhubarb with sugar, and let it sit for a couple hours. Use a bowl to avoid making an enormous mess. Pour out some of the resulting liquid, and drink it in a cocktail of your own invention.
(You might actually omit this step, fussing with the sugar. Maybe it will be fine. Or even better. I haven’t tested whether this makes a difference. I wonder if anyone has. But the drink is a lovely byproduct.)
Squeegee rhubarb and remaining sugar into bottom crust of pie, which has been waiting patiently.
Mix eggs and milk, then swish in flour. Again, you should probably use a bowl. Even use the same one as the rhubarb/sugar, if you don’t want another thing to clean. Dump gently on rhubarb/sugar.
If you are comfortable with your masculinity, cover rhubarb with lattice top, brush with milk, and sprinkle sugar on top. If not, probably just stick with the chutney. Or eat the rhubarb raw from the ground, without washing it first.
Bake for an hour or so, until it’s bubbling. Eat.