I’m on a new supermarket kick: Each time I visit the produce section, I bring something home that normally wouldn’t make it into my shopping cart. Today, it was rhubarb’s turn to shine, since I couldn’t resist the long pink and green stalks, sitting there looking like my favourite old Lacoste T-shirt from the ‘80s.
Rhubarb is something you have to cook — you can’t eat it raw. That’s why you always see it starring in all sorts of crumbles and bumbles and strawberry-rhubarb pies. But it was way too hot out to bake when I brought my rhubarb home, and I didn’t want to start a whole production with ovens and flour and butter. Still, I figured I could manage a bit of chopping and a pot on the stove for a little while, so I decided to make a quick compote to spoon over my morning yogurt.
All I did was wash and chop three big stalks of fresh Ontario rhubarb, making sure to discard the leaves, as they are poisonous. Then I threw the chopped rhubarb into a medium-sized saucepan along with some lemon juice, brown sugar, a pinch of salt and a dribble of pure vanilla extract. I tossed everything together in the pot and then let it cook on medium heat for about 20 minutes until the rhubarb was completely soft and the mixture looked kind of compotey. Then I let it cool, whereupon it thickened some more.
The taste? Tart and sweet and truly delicious, though I have to wonder if it would have been slightly more blush-coloured if I had used white sugar instead of brown. But then I thought again, and figured that even if white sugar would have maybe made for a slightly prettier compote, I think brown sugar makes for a tastier one. Next time I’m going to try throwing some springtime strawberries in there, too. Give this recipe a try, and let me know what you think.
(makes about 2 cups)
4 cups fresh chopped rhubarb
Juice of half a lemon
1 cup brown sugar
Pinch of salt
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Step 1: Toss all ingredients together in a medium pot, then cook, stirring every so often, for about 20 minutes, or until rhubarb has completely cooked down and the mixture looks saucy. Serve over yogurt or ice cream.
See more rhubarb crumbles, turnovers and drinks.