Of rhubarb and farmers’ markets…

final-rhubarbsmall

Preparing to stew some rhubarb with coconut sugar.

baking

Rhubarb coffee cake. This is the moistest coffee cake I have ever had, and it’s very well-balanced between tart and sweet.

rhubard-sauce

I add vanilla to my stewed rhubarb.

cake

Yum!

rhubarb bag

More rhubarb delights to come…

I hope you’ll forgive the riot of rhubarb shots, but, at this time of year, it is one of my great joys. (Yes, it doesn’t take much to make me happy.)

Rhubarb is really a vegetable, but we eat it sweetened, like a fruit. I adore its tartness and acidity. It must be in the genes because my mother and sister are very fond of it too.

A quick trip to the farmers’ market this morning and five pounds of rhubarb and a few hours later, I’m in the kitchen, stewing it up and making rhubarb coffee cake. And I still had enough left over to freeze for another day.

I love our local farmers’ market. I bought my rhubarb from the same wonderful couple as last year. (Let’s call them Joe and Dorothy.)

Today, I was at the market early enough to buy up a good share of what they had to sell.

Last year, things were different. One weekend, my family was visiting, and we arrived at the market just minutes before it closed. I had my heart set on rhubarb, but it was too late — there was none left. After I expressed disappointment, Joe offered to drive all the way back to the farm just to get me some. I thanked him profusely for offering but said I didn’t want to put him to that kind of trouble. “Oh, no trouble,” he said. “Meet me back here in 15 minutes.”

And so I did. True to his word, Joe was there waiting with a bagful of lovely freshly cut rhubarb. I wanted to pay him extra in appreciation for his effort, but he wouldn’t hear of it. Needless to say, I am now a big fan of Joe and Dorothy’s and a regular customer of their fine produce.

We’re now growing rhubarb in our own garden. We started it last year from a cutting, so the plant is still small, but I have great hopes for next year.

There’s so many good things you can make with rhubarb. When I stew it or bake with it, I often add vanilla for a wonderful flavour combination. Ginger is lovely too.

Here’s my recipe for rhubarb coffee cake (pictured above) from Epicurious.

Here are 10 more rhubarb ideas courtesy of the Kitchn.

So, what’s your favorite thing to eat this time of year?

Sharing with Favorite Thing Saturday and Home Sweet Home.

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27 thoughts on “Of rhubarb and farmers’ markets…

  1. Pingback: Rhubarb Coffee Cake | Photos, Cooking and Crafts

  2. Pingback: Rhubarb with Molten Marshmallow | jittery cook

  3. Pingback: The best ever rhubarb | Bente Haarstad Photography

  4. I’m glad you cleared that up, I was just thinking this was some experimental combination! I like coffee cake, and I like rhubarb. Just not sure how they would taste together. 🙂

  5. You remind me how much I enjoy rhubarb. Yours looks delicious, both stewed with a touch of vanilla added and in cake! I was just writing that I hadn’t come across the combination of rhubarb and coffee in cake before, then I saw Sandra’s comment. So no coffee, just that tasty rhubarb!

  6. I’ve always loved rhubarb; still do. I get that from my mother’s love of rhubarb. She always made rhubarb crisp and sometimes rhubarb pie. I began stewing rhubarb too. In her later years my mom started making rhubarb coffee cake and I adored it! This is the first year in my entire life that I no longer have rhubarb plants so I better get some from the farmer’s market as you’ve done. In my last home, I planted a couple rhubarb plants right in my front yard — people sometimes wondered what that “exotic plant with the huge leaves was that looks like rhubarb”!! I don’t have any ideal spots here for rhubarb so I think I may plant one in a large pot. On a garden tour we took last month, a lady had two different pots with rhubarb planted and I thought it was genius!

  7. We had rhubarb growing in our garden when I was a child…someone had planted it years before we moved in and my mother made wonderful goodness each year. I miss that. And now of course I want to buy some rhubarb and do some baking and cooking! As for Joe & Dorothy — they sound like wonderful people…

  8. I love rhubarb anything. I make pies, coffee cake, you name it. That reminds me: I need to go buy some!

    It’s so nice to meet you. Thank you so much for joining in this week.

  9. Hi sis! You’re so right. Waiting for the strawberries. By the way, you also make wonderful rhubarb cakes. I’m sorry I didn’t get a picture of the last one…

  10. Thanks so much, Sandra. Coffee cake is kind of an old-fashioned term — you see these kind of cakes also referred to as “snacking” cakes. But last night we had it for dessert, so it could also be called ‘dessert cake’! I know what you mean by ‘teacakes’ too. I’ve had them and like that they aren’t too sweet.

  11. It sure has been rainy lately hasn’t it? But the timing has been good for our veggie garden if not for other things! You’re so right about cuttings from others making a garden special…and I know how that is true for yours. May just take you up on your kind offer…In the meantime, enjoy that rhubarb. It’s pretty much impossible to find in the grocery store.

  12. Once the rain stops, I am going to pick some rhubarb. Your photos & receipes are inspiring. Our plant is five years old (transplanted from our garden in Aylmer) and is huge. Sherry, I would be happy to share with you or any friends who want to stop by for a cutting. My cutting came from a very dear former neighbour. I think that is what makes a garden special; having plants from friends and family.

  13. Such lovely shots of your rhubarb and the delicious looking rhubarb cake! I loved the story of ‘Joe and Dorothy’!
    I’ve often wondered why some cakes are called “Coffee cake” when there’s no coffee in the recipe! I wonder if it’s because one eats them with coffee?

    In Britain, where I come from, we have something called a ‘teacake’. It is a light yeast-based sweet bun containing dried fruit and traditionally eaten toasted and buttered and served with tea!

  14. Yes, I do love rhubarb – I’m the “sister” referred to above! I especially like it when the sweetness is supplied by strawberries. This is the perfect time of year – when the end of rhubarb season overlaps with the beginning of strawberry season.

  15. I miss rhubarb, haven’t had a good rhubarb pie since my Mom died. Come to think of it I haven’t seen any in the grocery. I will have to look for it.

    Your images are beautiful Sherry. as always. I always enjoy your blog and love the new blog a lot.

  16. It sounds yummy! My grandmother used to have rhubarb in her garden and I don’t know if I ever even tried it back then but when I did as an adult, I was surprised at how delish and sweet rhubarb pie is, almost like cherry pie.

  17. A house I lived in for about seven years had a huge patch of rhubarb. Unfortunately, I had not discovered how wonderful rhubarb was at that time. It got cut down and thrown out every year but the last one I lived there when a friend of my mother saw it and said that she would take it. She probably froze enough for two seasons!

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