It’s odd, but I never sampled rhubarb’s goodness until just a few years ago. I don’t know why, really, because it turns out I’ve been missing out on something pretty terrific. I guess for starters, I have absolutely no memory of my mom cooking with it. Or anyone else’s mom for that matter. By the time rhubarb crossed my path, I was well into adulthood with set opinions of what I liked and didn’t like, and had firmly decided that I wouldn’t like rhubarb. It just didn’t sound like a vegetable I’d like. Rhubarb sounds a little like rutabaga, and I was certain I didn’t like them, whatever they were, since they all sounded like vegetables that you had to grow up in the Depression to like.
In my defense, it’s hardly going to draw people by its looks. It’s an alien-looking red stalk, like a gigantic, single stalk of red celery, starkly denuded of its leaves which it turns out are poisonous, that must be combined with something sweet because it’s so screw-up-your-face-tart. Like I’m going to start to experiment with that.
By the time I finally tried rhubarb, it was at a restaurant where a table of four of us decided to share a strawberry rhubarb tart. I figured I was trying to cut back on dessert anyway, and I could just try a microscopic morsel of it, hardly visible to the naked eye, just in case it was so bad it choked me. Well I’m sure you can see where this is heading; yes, the other three people had to fight me for their fair share. Turns out I love rhubarb, and it made me wonder what else I was missing that I’d convinced myself I wouldn’t like.
Strawberry – Rhubarb Syrup
- 2 cups sliced strawberries
- 1 cup chopped rhubarb
- 3 disks cut 1/8″ thick of fresh ginger
- 1/2 cup agave nectar
- 1 cup water
- 1 tablespoon packed with smashed whole mint leaves
- 1 large, juicy lime
Combine the strawberries, rhubarb, ginger, agave nectar, water and mint leaves together in a small pot over medium heat. Cut the lime in half, squeeze all the juice out, and add it to the mixture. Throw in the lime too.
Bring just to a boil and lower the heat to a simmer. Simmer for 30 minutes. Cool completely in the pot and strain into a jar. The syrup should be about the same consistency of agave nectar or maple syrup. If it isn’t, return the syrup to the pot and simmer another 5 minutes.
Store in the refrigerator for up to one week.