Rhubarb is a perennial plant that is easy to grow in raised beds containing well-drained, fertile soil. Rhubarb grows best in cool weather; here in the Northeast, it pops up in the spring.
Only the leaf stalks are edible; never eat the leaves as these contain high levels of oxalic acid, which can be harmful. Though it is technically a vegetable, most cooks treat rhubarb like a fruit and cook it into pies, crumbles, and other sweet desserts. Rhubarb pairs well with berries, especially strawberries.
This recipe for rhubarb curd is a slightly unusual, but delicious way to use the plant. Rhubarb curd can be spread onto toast, muffins, or scones, or used to frost cookies or cupcakes.
Rhubarb Curd Recipe
Adapted from My Meyer lemon curd recipe
*1 pound washed rhubarb, ends trimmed off and chopped into 1-inch pieces
*2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice (I used the juice of key limes)
*6 oz. (3/4 stick) organic unsalted butter
*1 cup organic confectioner’s (powdered) sugar
*4 egg yolks plus 2 whole eggs, preferably organic and free-range
*1-2 Tbsp. of lime zest (again, I used key limes)
1. In a saucepan, heat the rhubarb with the lime juice. Cook over low-medium heat and stir friequently until the rhubarb is very soft and falls apart (add a little water to the pan if the rhubarb is sticking to the bottom). Allow to cool a bit, then transfer to your blender to process until smooth (you could also use a hand blender for this).
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter with the powdered sugar. Beat for 1-2 minutes. On low speed, beat in the egg yolks and the whole eggs one at a time. Beat on low for 1 minute.
3. Pour the butter/sugar/eggs into a heavy saucepan and add the rhubarb mixture and the lime zest. Heat over low-medium heat for a few minutes. As you stir with a wooden spoon, you will notice the curd starting to smooth out and thicken. Keeping the heat at low-medium and stirring frequently (do not let it come to a boil), cook for another 5 minutes or so. A thermometer inserted at this point should read 165-170 degrees F.
4. Remove pan from the heat to cool. Spoon curd into clean jar(s) and store in the refrigerator for 1-2 weeks.
–Winnie Abramson writes the organic gardening and food blog Healthy Green Kitchen.
Photo credits: Winnie Abramson