Stewed Rhubarb

I don’t much like the word stewed. I’m sure Miranda Hart likes it – she loves words that make you really use your mouth. I mean, try it. Try saying stewed. Now say it really slowly. Steeeeeeewwwwwwweeeeeeeddddddd. You see, you actually use your mouth a whole lot more than you might have initially guessed (Miranda would be so proud)! But there’s something uncomfortable about saying that word. It’s like saying moist; you just try to avoid using it because it feels a bit icky – something about the combination of sounds is just off-putting. But unfortunately, stewed really is the best word in this scenario. So there is it: stewed rhubarb.

If you don’t like rhubarb, I get it. It’s an odd thing: for starters it’s a vegetable, not a fruit. Also, it’s poisonous and can totally kill you! Well, the leaves can at least, and even then you’d have to eat so many to actually die…but the stalks have the same acid in them that make the leaves poisonous! It’s just not concentrated enough to harm a human. But wait, there’s more. Rhubarb isn’t justย a poisonous vegetable posing as a fruit-thing, it’s also so bitter that you can’t eat it raw! Gee, why bother, right? Whoever thought of cooking rhubarb before they ate it was a genius, and clearly very determined to enjoy rhubarb! But even then, you need to add a lot of sugar or honey to make it tasty. So you’re completely forgiven if you’ve a) never tried rhubarb or b) have tried it and really don’t like it, slash don’t think it’s worth the effort.

I think one of the only reasons I really enjoy rhubarbย is because it’s still slightly foreign to me. Yes, it’s a strange thing, and yes it can take a bit to make something nice out of it, but I still love it. It’s so common in places like the UK and yet reasonably rare, or at least not widely used, in Australia. It’s like gooseberries, or blackberries, or even elderflower! They all exist in Australia, if you know where to look, but they’re expensive when you can find them, and often not as sweet and tasty as they should be! And to think that blackberries and elderflower just grow on the side of the road in the UK (can you sense the envy?)! So I try to make the most of it here in old, colonial Australia (I’m kidding, but it does sometimes feel like a backwater). So don’t be surprised if I keep posting about rhubarb for the next few weeks – when it’s in season, I really do buy it every week…

 

Stewed Rhubarb

Ingredients

300-400g rhubarb

1/3 cup honey

1/4 cup water

There are two ways of stewing rhubarb: on the stove or in the oven (although, I suppose if you cook it in the oven, it’s technically baked rhubarb… The oven takes longer, but the rhubarb stays in tact – whereas when cooked on the stove, rhubarb generally collapses and you end up with mushy rhubarb, which is totally fine, just a different outcome.

Oven Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180C fan-forced.
  2. Remove leaves from rhubarb and rinse to remove any dirt.
  3. Chop stems into 1-2 inch pieces and place in an oven-proof dish, then drizzle with honey and water.
  4. Bake in the oven for around 30 minutes or until the rhubarb pieces are soft to the touch but not mushy.
  5. Store in the fridge for up to a week.

 

Stove Method

  1. Remove leaves from rhubarb and rinse to remove any dirt.
  2. Chop stems into 1-2 inch pieces and place in large saucepan and drizzle with honey and water.
  3. Cook over low heat for about 10-15 minutes, or until soft. The rhubarb will become mushy and pulpy quite quickly.
  4. Store in the fridge for up to a week.

 

Happy Baking!

 

Notes

  • Rhubarb also goes well with cinnamon, cardamom, vanilla and orange zest – add one of these for a little something extra.
  • Works well on muesli and other cereal, in crumbles, on ice cream, with yoghurt or custard etc.
  • Can also be used in tarts and desserts.
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