Seriously, I want to take a poll (you can comment below), do you like rhubarb sauce? Do you know what it is? How do you eat it?
For the record, I love rhubarb sauce; I remember my mom cooking a pot of rhubarb every spring. We would eat the sauce plain, served as a side for lunch or dinner, maybe even a snack, but when I serve rhubarb Mr. Pickle Farm (Andrew) looks at me like I have grown horns out of my head. My son will not touch the stuff with a ten foot pole. Why? I haven’t a clue. The best I can figure is that Mr Pickle Farm did not grow up eating rhubarb sauce and thinks its weird, and at this point my son seems to shun everything homemade which is well, everything.
With an abundance of rhubarb in our garden I thought I would whip up a huge batch of sauce even if I wind up eating it all by myself. I canned several pints in a water bath to eat long after the rhubarb season has passed.
If you have never made rhubarb sauce, its super simple. The process is very much the same as making apple sauce, except unlike apple sauce, rhubarb does require some sort of added sugar or sweetener. This year I decided to pass on the refined sugar and make vanilla-maple rhubarb instead, because…yum.
The ingredient list below makes a small batch to eat fresh. If you want to preseve rhubarb sauce, I would suggest tripling or even quadrupling the recipe.
4 cups rhubarb cut into 1/2″ pieces
1/2 cup maple syrup (make sure its real, this is not the time for Mrs. Buttersworth…wait, is there ever a time for Mrs. Buttersworth?)
1/2 cup water
1 vanilla bean scraped or 1/4 tsp ground vanilla beans
Cut rhubarb into 1/2″ pieces and measure four cups
Place cut rhubarb in a pot with a half cup water and bring to a boil. As soon as the water boils, turn down the heat and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes.
Stir frequently while simmering. After 10 minutes add a 1/2 cup maple syrup (more or less to taste), and 1/4 tsp ground vanilla beans (or scrape one vanilla bean).
You can eat rhubarb sauce warm, but I prefer to eat it cold. It is great by itself but even better served atop plain yogurt or vanilla ice cream.
The addition of maple-syrup and vanilla bean really took the sharp edge of the rhubarb. I think I am sold. I hereby declare that all rhubarb sauce produced in my kitchen from this day forward shall be made with vanilla beans.
If you make a large batch you can preserve your rhubarb by freezing or canning in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes. If you need more information on how-to’s of canning and preserving, the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving is the bomb; with great recipes and instructions.