Rhubarb in the dead of winter


I am hungry for spring. The weather has been moody, teasing us with wafts of pleasantries only to fall gloomy-skied once again. I have to wonder what Miss Weather’s fickleness is doing to local farmers’ own moods.

I just polished off a bowl of thawed rhubarb sauce with yogurt. Yes, I am eating year-old rhubarb for breakfast – that’s how hungry for I am for the first signs of spring.

Rhubarb is a fraud of a fruit. It is more a celery stalk dressed up in scarlet. She uses her tartness to find her way into pies, sauces and jams but I would never want to encounter her, on some long hungry night, when she is in her raw state.

The rhubarb sauce, sold frozen by Wilklow Orchards (Highland, NY), melts into a watery-applesauce consistency. It’s too tart to be eaten straight from the tub but I appreciate the farm abstaining from the arrogance of knowing how much sugar to add. I like to do it myself, thank you. And with all the different sweetening preferences out there – sugar, molasses, honey, fructose, date syrup, aspartame, what-have-you – it is rather wise of them to sell it as is.

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