This week we rescued our first rhubarb of the season (those weren’t pink stalks of celery in your box)! While it’s often featured in sweets like pies and cakes, rhubarb is technically a vegetable. Its leaves are considered poisonous due to their high oxalic acid content, but the stalks are safe to consume. Eaten raw, rhubarb is sour and bitter, which is why it’s often cooked with sugar. Once sweetened, it’s perfectly sweet-tart and pairs well with berries, citrus, vanilla, cinnamon, and ginger. Sweetened rhubarb also compliments savory dishes that feature chicken or pork.
Rhubarb is delicious in pies, quick breads, muffins, and crisps, as a compote for meats and poultry, or as a syrup for ice cream and cocktails. Speaking of cocktails, we thought it was high time for one! We’re cooking down this week’s rhubarb into a simple agave-sweetened syrup for a springtime spin on the classic margarita, just in time for Cinco de Mayo! This drink is fruity and tart, a little sweet, and the prettiest shade of pink. We’ve also included instructions for making a delicious mocktail – fresh rhubarb soda – below! Cheers!
Did you receive rhubarb in your box this week? We'd love to see how you're using it in your own kitchens! Don't forget to snap a pic, post to social, and tag us @perfectlyimperfectproduce so we can share your creations with our community.
Active time: 15 Min.
Total time: 30 Min. (plus chill time)
1 ½ cups chopped Perfectly Imperfect rhubarb
¾ cup water
¼ cup agave* (less if you prefer less sweet)
2 tablespoons Perfectly Imperfect orange juice
*Light agave recommended over dark or amber agave
Perfectly Imperfect lime wedge
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
Zest from ½ Perfectly Imperfect lime
Margarita (per 2 servings):
2 ounces rhubarb syrup (¼ cup)
2 ounces silver tequila (¼ cup)
2-4 teaspoons Perfectly Imperfect lime juice (or to taste)
Fresh rhubarb “stir sticks”
Bring rhubarb and water to a boil in a small saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring and mashing occasionally. Remove from heat, then strain rhubarb through a fine mesh strainer over a glass bowl to catch the liquid. Stir and press the pulp into the strainer using the back of a spoon to remove as much liquid as possible. You can discard the pulp or use it in oatmeal!
Return the reserved liquid to the saucepan. Add the agave and orange juice. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool, then transfer to a glass jar and refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours.
To make a salt rim on the glasses, mix together the Kosher salt and lime zest, using your hands to work them together. Pour onto a small plate. Run a lime wedge around the rim of a small 6-8 ounce rocks glass, then dip into the lime salt.
Fill rocks glasses with ice; set aside.
In a cocktail shaker, combine the rhubarb syrup, tequila, and lime juice. Add ice, cover and shake. Strain into the prepared rocks glasses. Garnish with lime slices, sliced strawberries and rhubarb “stir sticks”.
To make fresh rhubarb soda (mocktail), fill a rocks glass with ice. Add 2 tablespoons rhubarb syrup and 1-2 teaspoons lime juice. Top off with club soda or sparkling water. Stir well and serve.
By Carolyn Hodges, MS, RDN