Rhapsody in Rhubarb?

Seriously, when was the last (or only) time you’ve ever made something edible with rhubarb? I recall as a child pulling the stalks out of the ground from the rhubarb patch around my grandparents barn and eating it raw with sugar sprinkled on it, but can’t recollect a time of ever cooking with the stalks myself.

FYI, rhubarb is technically a vegetable, but is legally considered a fruit. Rhubarb is sold at farmers’ markets and grocery stores by the stalk, like celery. It’s harvested in the spring, with a short season that spans from April to June. The stalks are famous for their bright pink color, but they can also be light pink and even pale green. The color is not an indication of ripeness or sweetness, like it is with other fruits.

But be aware, the stalks are the only edible part of the plant; in fact, the leaves of rhubarb are poisonous! Rhubarb is naturally tart when it’s raw—and I mean jaw-achingly so—so be prepared if you indulge in it’s raw state, therefore it’s almost always cooked or baked with a generous serving of sugar.

I was on a garden tour recently and the proprietor happened to have a large patch growing next to her prized peonies and hydrangeas. She asked if any of us wanted some rhubarb stalks to take home, so I thought, why not? Rhubarb is famously paired with strawberries, spring’s other darling, but not being a pie eater, I wanted to make something both my husband and I would eat. Enter these Nut-Topped Strawberry Rhubarb Muffins found on TasteofHome.com.

When cooled, they provided just the right balance of savory and not-too-sweet. Consider using them as a great item for a brunch; as a grab-and-go breakfast; or for a real indulgent treat, why not pair with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream for dessert? And I just heard at my garden club luncheon today, that one of the other gardeners on that hydrangea tour made Rhubarb Margaritas last night… Just sayin…

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Nut-Topped Strawberry Rhubarb Muffins

  • Servings: 18 muffins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/3 cups packed brown sugar
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped fresh strawberries
  • 3/4 cup diced fresh (about one large 15″stalk)

TOPPING:

  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon cold butter
Directions

  1. In a large bowl, combine the first six ingredients. In another bowl, whisk the egg, buttermilk, oil and vanilla.
  2. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.
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  3. Fold in strawberries and rhubarb.
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  4. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full.
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  5. In a small bowl, combine the pecans, brown sugar and cinnamon. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle over batter.
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  6. Bake at 400° until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 20-25 minutes.
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  7. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks. Serve warm.
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http://www.lynnandruss.com

NUTRITION FACTS: 1 muffin: 243 calories, 10g fat (2g saturated fat), 14mg cholesterol, 155mg sodium, 37g carbohydrate (21g sugars, 1g fiber), 3g protein

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