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Rhubarb Recipes for Spring

Rhubarb Recipes for Spring – Rhubarb Margarita & Savory Chutney

Written by Amy Kruger for Madison Eats

Spring is the most hopeful time of year. During April and May I eagerly wait for my rhubarb to emerge. It is one of the first plants to appear in my spring garden.  When I look out and see the first hint of green leaves, I start my search for the perfect spring rhubarb recipes. You can also get this spring vegetable from your local farmers’ market!
Rhubarb’s tart flavor makes it an ideal ingredient for sweet desserts.  But this vegetable also enhances savory dishes, and you will want to make room for it on your dinner plate.  A savory rhubarb dish, accompanied by an excellent rhubarb cocktail is the best way to celebrate spring in Wisconsin. Here are two of my favorite rhubarb recipes for spring.

Rhubarb Chutney 

This chutney is delicious with shredded chicken on toast, or just on the bread itself! You can also use it as a side dish. We recently ate it with a cheesy frittata and oven roasted potatoes. Warning: I could not stop myself from eating this by the spoonful as it was cooling.

Rhubarb Chutney

3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup cider or rice vinegar
1 T minced fresh ginger
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
4 cups rhubarb, diced to 1/4″
1/2 cup chopped fresh chives
pinch of salt

Mix everything but the rhubarb and chives into a sauce pan. Bring the ingredients to a boil and reduce heat. 
Add the rhubarb, cooking for approximately five more minutes. Remove from heat and add the chives. Serve warm. 

Note: The rhubarb should remain whole, try not to let it over cook. It will continue to soften once taken off the heat. 

Rhubarb Margarita

I have taken a classic margarita recipe and adapted it to our Wisconsin spring, with the addition of rhubarb syrup and Aperol. Sumac powder on the rim of the glass adds a citrusy, burnt orange note that enhances your experience of the fresh rhubarb. 

Rhubarb margarita with sumac rim

3 oz tequila
2 oz fresh lime juice
2 oz rhubarb syrup
1/2 oz Aperol (or other bitter apertif)
A dash of saline (optional)
For the rim of your glass
1 lime wedge
2T coarse salt
1 1/2 tsp ground sumac

Place the salt and sumac in a small, shallow dish or saucer.

To prepare your cocktail, start with a chilled glass and run the lime wedge around its rim. Turning the glass upside down, press the rim of your glass into the salt and sumac mixture. 
Place all the margarita ingredients into your cocktail shaker, and add ice until it is about half full. Seal tightly and give it a good shake, about 15 – 20 seconds. 
Strain the drink into your prepared glass and enjoy! 

Additional recipes:

For Saline
200 g boiling water
50 g salt
When cooled, place in a dropper bottle.

For Rhubarb Syrup
6 cups chopped rhubarb
1 1/2 cups water
3 cups sugar
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

Place the rhubarb and water in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Once the mixture boils, reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Stir to break up the rhubarb pieces and release all the juices. 
Place a fine mesh strainer over a bowl. Pour the rhubarb mixture through the sieve separating the pulp from the juice. 
Discard the pulp. Measure the juice and if necessary, add water to equal 3 cups.  Return the liquid to a saucepan and add the sugar. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, cooking until the sugar completely dissolves, approximately 8 minutes. 
Remove the pan from heat and stir in lemon juice.