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Monday, July 8, 2013


 Rhubarb Ru'boaba 

  It is still rhubarb (ru-boaba) season in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Manitoba -- and it seems to be a bumper crop.

2 1/2 gallons of raw chopped rhubarb makes 20 2-cup packages

   My friend Steve Dahl returned from Wisconsin with three paper grocery bags filled with rhubarb and so we had a chopping party and decided to split our harvest into three products -- two gallons of chopped rhubarb were dry frozen (without preservatives, liquid or syrup) in 2-cup amounts for use in pies, cakes, muffins, breads, ice-cream and other delicacies.  

    Dry-frozen rhubarb should be frozen in zip-lock baggies or in freezer bags.  The goal is to remove as much oxygen as possible to prevent discolouration.  

    Dry-frozen rhubarb may be kept for up to six months... longer than that and one might want to consider freezing the rhubarb in a protective mixture of fruit juice or fruit syrup.  Dry-frozen rhubarb may freezer-burn but should be ok as long as it is used within the six-month period.

    Note that I heartily and unofficially endorse the Cuisinart line of chef knives available at Macy's and at Lowe's as being one of the best, most comfortable and edge-retaining chef knives for the money.  One might spend more, but I have found that Cuisinart are easily cleaned, require minimal maintenance and sharpening, and easily fit the hand.

Strawberry-Rhubarb Dump Cake 

4 to 5 cups of cubed rhubarb (raw) (two frozen packages)1 cup sugar 
1 (3 oz) package of strawberry Jello 
1 white cake mix 
1 1/4 cup water 
1/2 cup melted margarine or butter

    Put ingredients in a buttered 9 x 12 x 2-inch pan in even layers in the order that they are given - do not mix. Bake in a 350° oven for about 1 hour. 
    Delicious served warm with ice-cream, half-and-half or cream.

Rhubarb Sauce uses about 1/2 the sugar of a true jam.
    BUT our hearts were truly set on other things. 

Jams require twice the sugar as a preservative.
      Being Mennonite, one can hardly go through the summer without rodercoca and rhubarb sauce or rhubarb sauce on bread, cake or ice-cream.  So... we pulled out my Great-grandmother Mercedes Knuth - Conatser's recipe for rhubarb sauce (recalling Gladys Kauffman's secret of adding just a few raspberries for color and a more fruity taste).

    We will make 1 gallon of rhubarb sauce and 2 gallons of rhubarb - berry jam, adapting a recipe Nancy Wall collected from an old issue of Country Woman Journal.  

    In the city, Aldi's tends to have the best prices on produce... so we will scout the Asian markets for berries and probably purchase from Aldi's a mixture of blueberries and strawberries to add to the jam mixture.

    Before hand, we have packed both rhubarb mixtures in appropriate amounts of sugar to help break down the juices.  Jams take about twice the amount of sugar as does a sauce.  Sauces require sugar as a sweetener, while jellies and jams require enough sugar to act as a preservative.

    Caution:  like other fruits, rhubarb will darken if left out in the air, so we placed a layer of plastic wrap directly over the sugar-fruit mixtures with an additional covering to stop air flow.

    But, we will have to keep you in suspense until tomorrow to see how this all turns out.  Happy Rhubarb Season!

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