Rhubarb. It’s a vegetable treated as a fruit (i.e., rhubarb desserts and rhubarb jams) because of its high acid content. Not only is rhubarb a favorite summer baking and cooking ingredient, but it’s also nutritious and low in calories with lots of vitamins (including Vitamin K) and contains practically no fat or cholesterol.
If you’re a baseball fan, you know that the word rhubarb has been slang for a heated quarrel or fight between umpires and team managers for decades. The instant replay has taken care of that.
Strawberries, another summer favorite, are popular rhubarb partners and much more versatile than the tart vegetable.
I took advantage of the current abundance of both rhubarb and strawberries by baking a delicious rhubarb bread from a recipe on the Land O Lakes website and making strawberry rhubarb jam and two amazingly simple plain strawberry jams from recipes in my archived jam file. One of the latter two has only two ingredients and is cooked in the microwave for 10 minutes. By the way, July is National Strawberry Month.
RHUBARB STREUSEL BREAD
For the bread:
1 cup sugar
½ cup butter, softened
1/3 cup orange juice
2 large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1½ cups (about 3 medium stalks fresh rhubarb, sliced into ¼-inch pieces)
For the streusel:
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour an 8×4-inch loaf pan; set aside.
Combine 1 cup sugar and ½ cup butter in a mixing bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy. Add orange juice and eggs, and beat at low speed just until mixed (mixture will look slightly curdled). Stir in the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt just until moistened. Gently stir in the rhubarb (batter will be thick). Set aside 1½ cups of the batter, then spread the remainder into the prepared pan.
Combine streusel ingredients in a small bowl, stirring until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle half of the crumbs over the batter in the pan and press gently into the batter.
Carefully spread the reserved
batter into the pan and top with the remaining streusel, pressing it into the batter.
Bake 65 to 70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes and remove from the pan.
(Notes: If, desired, the bread
can be baked in a 9×5-inch loaf pan for 60 to 65 minutes. Once the loaf is completely cooled, it can be wrapped in aluminum foil and refrigerated. It freezes well, too.)
STRAWBERRY RHUBARB FREEZER JAM
2 ½ cups chopped rhubarb
2 ½ cups chopped strawberries
2 cups sugar
3-ounce package strawberry Jell-O
Mix together the rhubarb,strawberries and sugar. Cook until juicy and rhubarb is tender. Add Jell-O and cook about 1 minute, or until dissolved. Poor into jars, cool and freeze.
THREE-INGREDIENT STRAWBERRY JAM
4 cups halved strawberries
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Combine strawberries and sugar in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring frequently. Reduce heat and simmer 1 hour or until thick, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice. Transfer to containers, cool and store in refrigerator up to a month.
TWO-INGREDIENT STRAWBERRY JAM
2 cups strawberries
1/3 cup granulated sugar
Mash berries and sugar in a 2½-quart, at least, bowl (not smaller, or the jam will boil over). Microwave, uncovered, on high for 10 minutes, stirring once halfway through. Cool completely. Makes about 1 cup.