NDSU Extension Service - Ramsey County


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Early Summer Goodness

Early Summer Goodness


          One of the first garden goodies we can enjoy is rhubarb.  Rhubarb is a very old plant. Its medicinal uses and horticulture have been recorded in history since ancient China where it was cultivated for medicinal purposes. By 1778 rhubarb was recorded as a food plant in Europe though shortly after, in 1790, the Qianlong emperor of the Qing dynasty forbade the further export of rhubarb to Western countries or barbarians as he called them.

          Appearance by rhubarb in America can be linked to an unnamed Maine gardener who obtained seed or root stock from Europe in the period between 1790-1800.  He introduced it to growers in Massachusetts where its popularity spread and by 1822 it was sold in produce markets.  Settlers carried it westward and the rest, as they say, is history.   Following are two ways to enjoy this year’s bountiful rhubarb harvest.


Rhubarb-Raspberry Jam



4 cups 1-inch pieces fresh rhubarb (about 1 1/2 pounds)

2 cups sugar

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

11/2-pint raspberries

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

          Combine rhubarb pieces, sugar and fresh lemon juice in heavy large Dutch oven. Cover and refrigerate until juices form, stirring occasionally, at least 8 hours or overnight.

          Bring rhubarb mixture to simmer over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to high and boil until rhubarb mixture thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. Add raspberries and boil until mixture is thick, stirring occasionally, about 6 minutes longer. Remove jam from heat. Stir in ground cardamom. Cool jam completely. (Jam can be made 1 week ahead. Store in covered container in refrigerator.)

          Makes about 2 cups



Rhubarb Strawberry Parfait



 1 ½ cups strawberries, sliced

2 cups rhubarb, sliced

½ cup orange juice

¼ cup sugar

2 6 oz. containers, plain nonfat yogurt

1 tsp. vanilla

          Combine strawberries, rhubarb, orange juice, and sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring to boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until fruit is tender, about 10 minutes.  Place mixture in bowl and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, about 4 hours.

          Mix yogurt and vanilla.  Layer yogurt mixture and strawberry-rhubarb mixture alternately in parfait glasses, ending with fruit. 


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