Heavy winds over the past day or so wreaked only the tiniest bit of havoc. The green curtain held its own, and only a stalk or two of popcorn gave in to its gusty shoves. One surprise victim, though, was the rhubarb. A few leaves of one of the largest plants broke off, and I couldn't bear to see them go to waste. I know I'm not supposed to harvest the first year, but it seemed criminal to not make the most of the situation.
So, the massive stalks and leaves got cut off, and joined bunches of basil, swiss chard, and kale all riding home in my bike basket to be processed. The basil will, of course, become pesto frozen in ice cube trays for easy meals. The greens will be blanched and frozen for use as an unconventional addition to winter meals of houtou udon or oden. The rhubarb's destiny though, was not clear.
While rhubarb may have originated in China and Mongolia, I have yet to find a local recipe for it. The little picture on the plant tag shows a jar labeled jam, a knife, and a piece of toast. Fair enough, but I know it best as a pie filling, a favorite childhood ice cream sauce, and paired with strawberries for jam. I've got no oven here, we don't buy ice cream in bulk very often, and my few strawberries finished up some time ago.
After a fair amount of scouting about and drooling on my computer, I found this recipe for rhubarb butter via Tigress in a Jam. A small batch with only a few ingredients it seemed like the perfect fit for my four stalks. Four jars are cooling even now on the counter, and samples throughout the process convinced me it's a winner of a recipe. (I've got one stalk left that I think I'll just blanche and freeze for another rainy day.) Now, I just need another wind storm so I can see how a wee bit of ginger might taste mixed in...