Freshly grown rhubarb starts showing up at farmers markets this time of year and like the robins in April it is a sure sign spring is here. Rhubarb has a wonderfully tart flavor that makes it perfect for paring with a sweeter fruit like strawberries or apples. Personally I like it with apples. It cooks quickly and adds such a distinctive flavor you cannot mistake it in a dish.
Fresh Rhubarb at the Farm Stand
If you like it a little sweeter, I tend to enjoy the tartness explosion, then just add a little more sugar. That will tame it down some. And this recipe only makes about 2 cups or so of sauce so if you want more just double it up and you should be fine. You can also mash it either partially or completely if you like it to be a bit smoother. Personally I like to leave some texture to the dish so I just let it cook down naturally.
But however you like it, give this a try as a starter and then tell us how you change it to make it yours. Enjoy!
1. Peel and chop the apples and toss them with the lemon juice to keep them from browning.
Apples Ready for Prep
2. Peel the rhubarb by taking a paring knife and between your thumb and the knife grab the edge of the outer "skin" and pull it down to allow the skin to peel away. This is not a necessary step but I prefer it done this way because sometimes the outer peel can be a little stringy. Once peeled (or not) chop the rhubarb.
Peeling the Rhubarb
3. Add the apples, orange juice, sugar and cinnamon to a sauce pan.
Apples, Orange Juice, Sugar and Cinnamon in the Saucepan
4. Turn the heat on medium and bring it to a light boil.
Apples and Orange Juice Starting to Boil
5. Turn the heat to medium low and cook, stirring often, until the apples are softened, about 9-10 minutes.
6. Add the rhubarb and continue cooking for another 5 minutes or so until the rhubarb has softened and the sauce has thickened to the desired consistency.
Add the Rhubarb to the Partially Cooked Apples
7. Set it aside and let it cool a little bit.