It’s National Rhubarb Day!

Three great recipes to tickle your rhubarb fancy.

It's national rhubarb day!

Rhubarb-Lavender Streusel Muffins

Buttermilk Buckwheat Pancakes With Summer Fruit Syrup

Rhu-Berry Compote

Apparently today, January 23rd, is National Rhubarb Day. I have absolutely no idea why, or even who decides these things, but there it is. I can tell you that there is absolutely no rhubarb in season anywhere near where I live. It is a frozen tundra outside, and the current temperature as I speak is a paltry 7 degrees F.

Nevertheless here we are and we get to wrap our minds around this wonderful spring vegetable (because somebody obviously has a real sense of humor when scheduling these things). To our consolation, perhaps, you can actually buy frozen rhubarb, should you feel in a particular mood for celebrating.

Rhubarb is a perennial vegetable that looks quite like Swiss Chard, but when you see it at the market you will always notice the rhubarb is offered without its leaves, because they are poisonous (unlike the leaves of chard, which are tender and quite tasty as well as healthy.) Its long reddish stalks can be tempting to the eye, and the flavor, although a bit tart, can be a wonderful addition to jams, sauce and even muffins where its tartness is comparable to cranberry.

For the nutrition of rhubarb, it is naturally low in calories, has a good amount of calcium and vitamin c, and 2.2 grams of dietary fiber per cup. I don’t know that it has any health benefits beyond that, as when it was reported to be good for easing gout, that was actually in the roots and not the stems.

First up is rhubarb-lavender muffins which I made to use some fresh rhubarb and also made with a bit of organic dried lavender blossoms. You can also make it with fresh lavender, but you must be sure that it has not been sprayed with chemical pesticides or fertilizers. It has been previously published here on the blog, and you can use the link here to find it:
 

 photo Rhubarb-LavenderStreuselMuffins.jpg

Next up is a recipe I originally put together for a contest held at Recipezaar back in 2004. It was one of those contests where there was a list of 15 ingredients and you had to come up with a recipe that used at least 5 of those in the recipe. In this recipe, I used buckwheat flour, rhubarb, and tart pie cherries. It’s hard for me to remember what other two ingredients I chose since it has been a long time, but I think they were buttermilk and honey…or raspberries.

Anyway…these are good and even though it is called a “Summer” fruit syrup, you can make this with frozen fruit. It is also a welcome change from the usual maple syrup.

Buttermilk Buckwheat Pancakes with Summer Fruit Syrup

Buttermilk Buckwheat pancakes with Summer Fruit Syrup
Ingredients for the Syrup:

  • 1 cup chopped rhubarb (thawed if frozen)
  • 1 cup frozen pitted tart red pie cherries, thawed
  • 1 cup chopped strawberry (thawed if frozen)
  • 1 cup raspberries (thawed if frozen)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Ingredients for the Pancakes:

  • 3/4 cup buckwheat flour
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 tablespoons honey

To serve:

  • butter (optional)
  • sweetened whipped cream (optional)

Method:

  1. To make syrup: combine rhubarb, cherries, strawberries, raspberries, sugar, honey, corn syrup, water and lemon juice in a heavy saucepan.
  2. Stir mixture over medium-low heat, until sugar dissolves and mixture comes to a boil.
  3. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture thickens and becomes syrupy.
  4. Watch that it doesn’t boil over, because it will tend to foam.
  5. Do not overcook, as mixture thickens upon standing.
  6. If mixture becomes too thick, add water in small amounts after cooling syrup, stirring until smooth, and desired consistency is reached.
  7. To make pancakes: mix together buckwheat flour, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a mixing bowl.
  8. Make a well in the center and add milk, buttermilk, eggs, melted butter and honey.
  9. Stir until blended but do not overmix (you should still be able to see some lumps).
  10. Pour batter 1/4 cup at a time onto hot oiled griddle, 2-3 at a time, allowing room to spread.
  11. Carefully turn pancakes with spatula when batter starts to bubble and becomes slightly porous.
  12. Cook briefly on the other side until pancakes become golden.
  13. Keep finished pancakes warm on a baking sheet in a low-temp oven.
  14. Serve pancakes spread with butter and syrup, and garnished with whipped cream (if desired).

The next recipe is for a topping I made when I was following low-carb and wanted a different kind of topping to go on top of ice cream. I know it uses a few sugar-free ingredients, but you can also make this with regular ones instead. A lot of people are dieting right now and this can really be a lifesaver if you are hankering for something sweet.

Rhu-Berry Compote

Rhu-Berry Compote

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup low-calorie orange juice or 1/4 cup low-calorie Sunny Delight orange drink
  • 1 cup Splenda granular
  • 1/2 lb rhubarb stalks, chopped
  • 2 cups assorted fresh berries
  • 1 teaspoon sugar-free orange extract or 1 teaspoon sugar-free lemon extract

Method:

  1. Stir together orange drink and Splenda until it dissolves in a saucepan.
  2. Add rhubarb to pan and cook for 7-8 minutes or until rhubarb becomes tender.
  3. Stir in berries and cook 1-2 minutes more, or until berries start to stain sauce red.
  4. Stir in orange extract and remove from heat.
  5. Serve over low carb ice cream (or topped with sugar free whipped cream).

You might also like:

Cranberry-Banana Nut Bread

Hawaiian Bread Pudding

Strawberry Sweetheart Streusel Muffins

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