Monday, 30 May 2011

Rhubarb Curd

by Throwback at Trapper Creek

I affectionately call rhubarb "Poor Man's Citrus", but maybe I should call it Northern Man's Citrus. Poor ol' rhubarb, the ubiquitous kitchen garden and sensible farmyard perennial has made its way into the foodie culture. A spring herald around here, and the first fruit abundant enough to be eaten and preserved, tart and tangy rhubarb deserves the attention it is getting; a secret farm wives have known for years.

Faster than you can shake a stick, well not quite, you can pull a few stalks, slice, add a tiny bit of water, sugar and vanilla to taste, cook in covered pan for 10 minutes more or less and you have sauce for...the possibilities are endless.

We have always called this rhubarb pudding, but many call this rhubarb curd. Take your pick, it is delicious, eaten plain or used as a filling for tarts or pies. This dish is common on our table in the spring when eggs and rhubarb are abundant.

Rhubarb Pudding or Curd 5 one cup servings

4 - 5 stalks trimmed rhubarb or enough for two cups of rhubarb sauce.
1/3 cup water
1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
6 egg yolks
1 stick butter, cut into pieces
1 tablespoon vanilla

Wash, trim and cut rhubarb into one inch slices. Combine rhubarb slices, 1/2 cup sugar and water in covered saucepan. Cook on medium heat until rhubarb is tender - about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool. Measure 2 cups cooked rhubarb sauce and purée in food processor or blender until smooth.

Separate egg yolks and press through a fine mesh sieve into double boiler (this removes any egg white left behind). Add puréed rhubarb, remaining one cup sugar, butter, and vanilla, whisk together. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture is thick and coats the back of a spoon. This takes about 10 minutes. Spoon into serving size dishes, chill before serving, or not, it is delicious warm on ice cream!

As an aside, I grow the hardier green rhubarb that has flourished on our homestead since it's inception (1881), and have just a few plants of the red variety which have yet to show much growth this cool spring. So as you may have noticed my rhubarb curd is almost tan, which may appear unappetizing to some. Growing up with food coloring in the kitchen cabinet, I have chosen to eschew this practice and present food in my kitchen as it appears. The newer red commercial variety will yield a pretty pink curd, but the taste is the same. Also pressing the yolks through the sieve is only necessary if you don't want a guest getting a tiny piece of rubbery egg white stuck in their teeth. Often when short on time and weary of washing dishes, I skip this step - it's all food.


Sadge said...

With the egg yolks, I'm pretty sure this isn't for long-term storage. Have you written any posts about how you preserve your rhubarb? (other than in jam - I have recipes for that) Thanks!

Throwback at Trapper Creek said...

Sadge, many people freeze this, or it can be refrigerated for a week. We usually eat it right away.

I have posted in the past about juice and liqueur:

I used to can and freeze rhubarb, but have found lately that canning it makes it more useful in the kitchen and gives me better long term storage. Our green rhubarb produces most of the growing season, so we consume a lot when it is available. Our red rhubarb puts out one big crop and then pretty much peters out during the hot weather. From a homesteading standpoint the green, perpetual type is a good thing for the kitchen garden.

Anna Marie said...

This is an interesting alternative to how we usually use rhubarb. We usually just cook it down with a bit of sugar, and eat just like that or use it in a pie. I'll have to try it with eggs.

Jeff and Meg said...

Thank you for posting this!! We love our rhubarb around here, and this sounds great!

Bellen said...

Really do miss growing rhubarb and store bought just isn't the same. Here in Florida I settle for real citrus esp calamondoms

Our favorite use of rhubarb - put boiling hot stewed rhubarb in 8"-9" pan and top with homemade cinnamon rolls, bake at 375 for about 20 min or till rolls are brown on top. Serve warm plain, with whipped cream, ice cream or a bit of heavy cream. Good for breakfast, snack, with afternoon tea or dessert. Might last us a whole meal!!

Hayden said...

oh yum! I've never done this - will try it.

as for keeping it... I usually just slice it, dust the slices with just enough sugar so they don't stick together, and toss it in the freezer in bags. Works pretty well. Spending energy on the freezing, but saving the initial energy of canning during hot months - especially mine!

thanks, too, for the tips on the difference between red and green rhubarb. I'm just getting it started this year and I didn't know there was a difference in bearing. At the farmers market I've been buying the Canadian red - yep, because it's soooooo pretty!

Country Girl said...

Can't wait to make that recipe Nita. I always freeze rhubarb then I don't see to use it all up.

Sue said...

I'm glad to see that I'm not the only rhubarb fanatic in the world. Always looking for ways to serve ours. Thanks for posting this recipe.

God's Little Cow Girl said...

YUMMY!! I am going to make this to go along with dinner tonight! My rhubarb has taken off very well, and I was in need of a new recipe to try. :-) Thanks so much!

Jason Dingley said...

For many years I considered rhubarb, and beetroot for that matter, as an old persons food. They were both very popular at my Nana's house as a child. I now love both of them.

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thechammp said...

Sadge, canning curds aren't strictly forbidden. The National Center for Home Food Preservation gives instructions on canning lemon (or lime) curd using a bwb, though they don't recommend it for other citrus or fruit curds "at this time" I take "[not] at this time" to mean - 'we don't know, but maybe';

Sean said...

I'm the founder/moderator for Punk Domestics (, a community site for those of use obsessed with, er, interested in DIY food. It's sort of like Tastespotting, but specific to the niche. I'd love for you to submit this to the site. Good stuff!

Marty said...

Found your link through the Facebook page, "Food in Jars." I made the sauce this morning. This stuff is extremely addictive! I made it before breakfast and after I tasted it, I had ice cream with warm rhubarb curd for breakfast!

Sadge said...

Thanks for the link, Chammp. I guess I'll have to stick to freezing this recipe.