I recently discovered rhubarb. I knew what it was, and I had some ideas about what it tasted like, but I’d never actually eaten it. I remember when I was little there was a patch of rhubarb in my parents’ backyard, but my mom cut it down because my dad and I wouldn’t eat anything that she made with it. Tasting it now, I understand why I didn’t want it as a child– I wanted all things sweet, and rhubarb, although it can be a little sweet if you dump sugar in it, is really tart.
Also, rhubarb is funny looking. Who expects something that looks like this to taste good? I see chard when I look at that picture, not something that will turn into a delectable spring treat. But when you simply chop up the pretty pink stalks, toss them with some sugar and a spoonful of water, and let it all boil down for several minutes until everything falls apart, it becomes something that you don’t want to stop eating.
You can eat rhubarb compote by the spoonful, or serve it over vanilla ice cream, or pound cake, or shortcakes, or plain Greek yogurt, which has been my “healthy dessert” for a couple of weeks now. I’m generally all about indulgence when dessert time comes (which is after every lunch and dinner, and sometimes breakfast, too), but a scoop of Greek yogurt topped with this rhubarb compote and some strawberries on the side has changed me–my dessert need is satisfied without chocolate, cake or cookies if I eat this combination instead. It’s the perfect mix to satisfy an enormous sweet tooth, frankly because it’s just so delicious. I’d go so far as to say it is the perfect solution for a springtime dessert. The yogurt is thick and creamy, the strawberries are bright and fresh, and the rhubarb brings a tart sweetness that enhances the other parts. So go ahead, buy some of the pink stalks and whip up this rhubarb compote. I’m sure you’ll want to enjoy it all the time, too.
Notes: I started with about ⅘ pound rhubarb actually, but trimmed it was around ¾ pound.
The compote seems to get pinker as it cools. The color also depends on how dark the rhubarb stalks are. Some of mine were darker pink than others.
¾ pound rhubarb, ends trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
½ cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons water
1. Place the rhubarb in a small saucepan. Sprinkle the sugar and water over the rhubarb, and gently stir to mix it all together. Set over medium heat and let simmer until the rhubarb breaks down, stirring occasionally.
2. Once the rhubarb has completely broken down, remove from heat and let cool. Transfer to a dish for storage.