While many people use rhubarb in dessert recipes, rhubarb is actually a vegetable. According to an article in wordpress.com, rhubarb became a popular ingredient for desserts in Europe as it was available early in the spring. Rhubarb tarts were a refreshing switch from eating pies made with dried raisins or apples. Due to its tartness, rhubarb is often combined with other fruits.

Extra rhubarb can be frozen for later use. First, cut stalks into one-inch pieces and lay them flat on a parchment-lined baking pan. Freeze them until they are firm to the touch, which will take a few hours. Then, place them in freezer bags and store them in the freezer for up to a year.

According to the University of Minnesota, roots and seeds of the rhubarb plant were brought to Western Europe in the 17th century.

It was the French who first discovered that the stalks were edible and could produce a tasty sauce.

Rhubarb first appeared in American seed catalogues in 1829, becoming a primary ingredient in jams, sauces, preserves. It was so popular for use in pies that many housewives referred to it as the “pie plant.” Although rhubarb stalks are edible, its leaves are very poisonous.

This recipe is from allrecipes.com

Easy Rhubarb Crisp

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup brown sugar

3/4 cup oats

1/2 cup melted butter

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

4 cups diced rhubarb

1 cup white sugar

1 cup water

2 Tbsp. cornstarch

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Mix flour, brown sugar, oats, butter, and cinnamon together in a bowl until crumbly. Press 1/2 of the oat mixture into the bottom of a prepared baking dish. Sprinkle rhubarb over oat mixture.

Combine white sugar, water, cornstarch, and vanilla extract in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook and stir until thick and clear, about 5 minutes. Pour sugar mixture over rhubarb. Sprinkle remaining oat mixture over rhubarb.

Bake in the preheated oven until crisp is lightly brown and bubbling, about 1 hour.

This recipe is from the Plymouth, Minn. Apostolic Lutheran Church cookbook

Rhubarb Bread

1-1/2 cups brown sugar

2/3 cup oil

1-1/2 cups diced rhubarb

2-1/2 cups flour

1 Tbsp. salt

1 Tbsp. soda

1 Tbsp. vanilla


1 tsp. nutmeg

1/2 cup sugar

1 Tbsp. butter

Mix sugar, oil and vanilla. Mix dry ingredients together, then gradually add to first mixture. Fold in rhubarb. Pour in two greased, floured pans. Sprinkle with topping and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.

This recipe is from Woman's World magazine.

Strawberry-Rhubarb Cheesecake Bars

1-1/4 cups packed brown sugar

3/4 cup butter at room temperature

4 eggs

2 Tbsp. vanilla extract

3 cups and 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

3/4 tsp. baking powder

2 8-oz. packages cream cheese at room temperature

14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk

1 lb. fresh rhubarb, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

2 cups strawberries, trimmed and quartered

1/4 cup granulated sugar

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 13-by-9-inch baking pan with enough foil to overhang sides by 2 inches and coat foil with cooking spray.

On medium speed, beat brown sugar for 2 minutes until creamy. Add 1 egg and 1 tablespoon vanilla and beat until blended. On low speed, beat in 3 cups flour and baking powder. Reserve 1/4 of dough and press remaining dough into bottom of pan.

On medium speed, beat cream cheese and milk until smooth. Beat in remaining

eggs and vanilla. Spread in pan Bake until almost firm, about 30 minutes. Combine fruit, granulated sugar and remaining flour and spread over the filling. Crumble reserved dough over fruit. Bake until golden brown and fruit is tender 35-45 minutes. Let cool completely on rack.

This recipe is from Country Woman magazine.

Chunky Rhubarb Applesauce

1 lb rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch chunks

2 lb. tart apples, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks

1/2 to 1 cup sugar

1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg

Place rhubarb, apples and sugar to taste in large saucepan. Cover and simmer until fruit is tender, about 40 minutes. Stir in cinnamon and nutmeg. Serve warm or cold.

This recipe is from the Plymouth, Minn. Apostolic Lutheran Church cookbook.

Easy Rhubarb Jam

4 cups diced rhubarb

4 cups sugar

1 cup fresh, sliced strawberries or a 10-ounce package of frozen strawberries

3-oz. package strawberry flavored gelatin

Combine rhubarb, sugar and strawberries. Boil for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in gelatin until completely dissolved. Put into sterilized jars and seal.

Readers are invited to submit four to five of their favorite recipes to enjoy, along with a note about what makes them special. Send recipes to lskarpness@parkrapidsenterprise.com and they may appear in a future issue.