Consider yourself warned: there’s going to be a whole lotta rhubarb going on here this spring.
Aside from it being one of the first things ready to be harvested from the garden in the spring, it’s also one of my absolute favorites. I’m a total sucker for that sweet-tart flavor combination. The scent of rhubarb immediately brings me back to memories of growing up, when mom would give me a handful of rhubarb chunks and a little bowl of sugar to dip them in as a treat. Yep, that’s right, raw rhubarb. That’s how I rolled (and still do, sometimes).
So then it shouldn’t be a stretch to believe that I have spent a good chunk of my free time since, oh, January thinking about all the rhubarb recipes I’d like to try this season. Among the ideas for jams, liqueur, and baked goods, the idea started brewing to try rhubarb fruit leather. After looking through a number of recipes, I had a rough idea of how to make fruit leather and an inspiration for flavors: rhubarb, honey, and cinnamon. In those dreary days of winter, I never dared to think that I would have made this and several other rhubarb recipes by mid April (keep in mind that it looked like this one year ago, and the rhubarb was just a few inches tall at the time).
I cooked up a steaming pot of delicious smelling rhubarb puree and added my honey and cinnamon, but there was just one little problem: it needed something more. The color was a little anemic and it needed more sweetness (it was very tart, even for the girl who likes to take a bite or two of raw rhubarb). Not wanting to add a ton of sugar to make it work, I decided to throw in a small bag of frozen strawberries left over from last summer. A little more time on the stove to cook them down (the color improved almost immediately) and another whirl of the immersion blender, and I was back in business with the perfect sweet-tart balance, and just the right amount of depth with the honey and cinnamon.
And they come out of the oven with an even richer flavor. You can definitely discern every ingredient, but all together, it’s simply amazing! My mind is now racing with all kinds of flavor combinations I want to try: strawberry and basil? raspberry and mint? cherry and vanilla? apple and cinnamon? I think I’ve found my new breakfast of champions for those mornings I need something to grab and go.
Rhubarb Fruit Leather with Strawberries, Honey, and Cinnamon
4 generous cups rhubarb, diced
1 cup strawberries, fresh or frozen (unsweetened)
1/4 cup water
2 – 4 tablespoons honey
Cinnamon, to taste
Preheat oven to lowest setting, between 150 and 200 degrees, and lightly spray a baking sheet with regular cooking spray or line with parchment paper (you could also use a dehydrator, if you have one).
Add diced rhubarb, strawberries, and water to a heavy pot and cook until rhubarb is softened. Puree with an immersion blender (you should end up with approximately 2-3 cups of puree). Stir honey and cinnamon into rhubarb puree (taste for sweetness and adjust according to taste; the natural sweetness/tartness will vary).
Spread mixture evenly on the prepared baking sheet, and place in oven. If it is safe to do so, leave the oven door cracked slightly to allow the moisture to escape and keep air circulating in the oven. Allow to dry in the oven until surface is no longer sticky, between 2 and 4 hours, depending on oven temp and thickness. I recommend rotating the pan every 30 minutes or so to assist with even drying. Remove from oven and allow to continue to air dry overnight. Slice into strips (use a pizza cutter for a slick way to get the job done) and store wrapped in parchment paper.
Recipe adapted from “Berry Leather” in Put ‘Em Up!
- These pages are dedicated to all things home gardening. From planning a garden to preserving the harvest, you'll find practical and creative ideas to satisfy your sense of garden adventure!
SUBSCRIBE VIA E-MAIL:
- tomatoes recipes peppers seed starting preservation Photo of the Day seasons Salsa Week rhubarb photo post garden planning Grow It Forward 12 Weeks of Garden Inspiration raspberries herbs garden projects garden plans heirloom lettuce broccoli yard projects onions seeds seed saving recipe radishes beans fall canning winter strawberries spring salsa varieties tomatillo seed garlic squash cucumber transplanting A Seed Starting Diary kale dry beans frost pollinators pumpkin planting community garden basil guest post scallions mint beneficial insects Garden Planning 101 soil spinach cucurbits beets red romaine garden photography Minnesota Locavore #garden365 photo challenge #garden365 kohlrabi Garden Photography 101 horseradish garden harvest totals asparagus Good Garden Reads sunflowers corn Year in Review vertical gardening pickling onion gardening with kids variegated tomato winter sowing squirrels organic gardening Three Sisters cabbage seed starting containers seedling care flowers potting up brassicas seed starting mix coir garden clean up zucchini fall garden jelly watermelon Holiday Gift Guide resources Opalka apples indoor gardening garden house projects garden pests giveaways Black Hungarian carrots gourds mexican sour gherkin seedlings photography Seed Starting Q + A blogging vacation pumpkins parsnips rue ground cherries zinnia lemon parsnip olive grapes tomato ground cherry rainbow chard Measuring Up herb overwintering Grow It Forwards botanical gardens shallots patty pan squash horseradish root dividing rhubarb brussels sprouts wrens San Francisco reader question compost jam cantaloupe wildlife-friendly garden bees Bees in the Garden aster reader questions alpine strawberries artichoke Linda Ly The CSA Cookbook Garden Betty book review garden quote cayenne plant markers slugs organic pest control pruning jalapeno tomatillos rosemary seasonal preparing for winter harvest starter pots sage garden organizataion garden inspiration San Marzano quinoa mulch litchi tomatoes watering amaranth tomato blight paste tomatoes Federle Red Romaine Lettuce social media garden beds snow birthday garden musings Big Mama Amish Paste Anna Russian Tomato litchi tomato peas mesclun pests organic mojito container gardening disease seed starting timeline soil blocker soil blocks peat Building Better Soil Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds oregano trellising rapsberries peanuts pepper Extending the Season seed packet John Denver love yellow pear printable