Fresh spring rhubarb

{Tart, fruity, earthy and positively addictive}


Even if it’s hothouse grown, and therefore, theoretically, knows no season, rhubarb is inextricably linked in my mind with the arrival of spring. Those ruby red stalks, whether thin or thick, green-tinged or deep red, seem always to arrive on my farmers’ market tables in spring, whether spring is construed as March, April or simply a state of mind.  (As anyone who has not been hiding under a rock has surely observed, the weather is changing and seasons are no longer discrete or definable; and with those changes, the time when “seasonal” produce arrives at the market is no longer predictable. ) But let’s enjoy what’s available regardless of what the calendar says and make the most of it.

Buy only the stalks that are unblemished, firm, not flabby and use quickly once you have purchased them. Trim off any leaf sections remaining on the stalks (these are known to be poisonous, full of oxalic acid but have no fear). Whether deep red, pale pink or even slightly green, these harbingers of spring have a pleasing tartness that need only a small amount of sugar to mellow. I tend to use a judicious hand with the sugar to preserve the fruit’s earthy flavor and would prefer to serve them with something a bit sweeter thereby achieving a perfectly balanced though simply rustic dessert.

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