The Low-Down on Rhubarb and Crumbles

rhubarb

Image courtesy of Whitney at flickr.com

In my blog on Strawberry-Rhubarb Crumble I mentioned that I had to scour the internet to do research for the post. I was only briefly familiar with rhubarb and needed to learn more in order to make a tasty treat. SeriousEats.com told me that “rhubarb—technically a vegetable, but usually treated like a fruit (is) … puckeringly tart when raw (and) is especially tasty when its sourness is tempered through cooking with sugar and/or pairing with sweet fruits … Note: Only the stalks of rhubarb plants are edible, while the leaves are poisonous.”

Once I got the info on the rhubarb plant, I went off in search of ways to bake it. I saw a multitude of recipes labeled “crumble” or “crisp” that looked like the same type of recipe. They are almost identical, but a little detective work uncovered their differences. “Crumbles and crisps are very similar … They both contain fresh fruit with a streusel-like topping that gets baked until the fruit is cooked … The original difference between the two lay in the streusel topping: crisps would contain oats and crumbles would not. In an actual crisp … the oats in the topping crisp up as it bakes, hence the name.”

At that point I had enough data to start my baking experiments. Strawberry was often paired with rhubarb so that was a good place to start. Also, it’s strawberry season and fresh berries were plentiful. I ended up with a crumble and not a crisp because it seemed easier, and who doesn’t like dessert to be simple. Next I threw in a little “healthy” and my Strawberry-Rhubarb Crumble was born.

Strawberry-Rhubarb Crumble

strawberry rhubarb crumble

strawberry rhubarb crumble

Rhubarb. I opened up my farm box and that’s what stared back at me. Of course I had heard of rhubarb before but I had never tried it. Not knowing what it tasted like meant I didn’t know what to do with it. I had seen rhubarb recipes before but they were for jam (with lots and lots of sugar) or for pie (and I don’t like pie – it’s a crust thing). So I began an extensive search on the vegetable.

The recipe that finally caught my eye was for a crumble. I was intrigued by the fact that it contained turmeric, that anti-inflammatory herb that has received so much press lately. Another ingredient in the recipe got my attention – the lack of refined sugar. I had found a recipe for a healthy and delicious dessert that I could easily modify.

The changes I made were simple. First off I adapted it to include my star ingredient – rhubarb. Next, I decided that this dish should contain some healthy fat in the form of coconut oil. Why add fat? Well, the crumble seemed like it would make a nice breakfast. It had protein, fruit and fiber, but it needed a little fat to round it out. Here it is, ready for breakfast or dessert.

Strawberry-Rhubarb Crumble adapted from OrganicConnectMag.com
¼ cup + 2 TBS maple syrup, divided
1 TBS dried ground turmeric
2 cups diced rhubarb
2 cups hulled and quartered strawberries
1 cup almond flour
2 TBS cold coconut oil
¼ cup almonds, chopped
¼ cup walnuts, chopped
1 tsp cinnamon
⅛ tsp nutmeg
⅛ tsp sea salt
Preheat oven to 375 F. Lightly grease an 8×8” baking dish. In a bowl, combine ¼ cup maple syrup and turmeric. Add rhubarb and strawberries and toss to coat. Add mixture to baking dish. In a bowl, combine almond flour, 2 TBS maple syrup, and coconut oil. Mix in almonds, walnuts, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Evenly spread topping over mixture in baking dish, breaking up clumps as you go. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes, until berries are bubbling and topping is golden. Serve warm.

Until next time, happy baking!