I love spring when fresh rhubarb is available. I have found that people are usually in two camps when it comes to rhubarb, “Love It or hate It.” I am solidly in the “Love It” camp. I got free rhubarb when my parents were alive as they grew a couple plants. Now I must buy it and can get very excited when I find it at the produce stand for .89 a lb.
This sauce can be made with either fresh or frozen rhubarb or made up and frozen itself for a little spring time all winter.
Combining the rhubarb with other fruit makes for some really nice flavors. Chopped apples, cherries and strawberries can be used in a 1/3 to 1/2 ratio to the rhubarb. Raspberries can be measured and added without chopping. Canned crushed pineapple may be drained and added. Use the juice as part of the water. A 20 oz. can of crushed pineapple has about 2 cups of pineapple in it.
The sauce has the consistency of thick applesauce. A bit more water can be added if a thinner sauce is desired. I sometimes add a drop or two of red food coloring to make the sauce prettier, and I did that to the sauce in the photos.
Easy and Versatile Rhubarb Sauce
6 cups of sliced fresh or frozen rhubarb (see other rhubarb/fruit combination suggested above)
2 c. sugar (if combining rhubarb with other fruit, start with 1 c. and gradually add more to desired sweetness)
1/3 c. water or combination of water and pineapple juice
1/4 c. cornstarch
1/2 to 1 t. almond extract or vanilla (optional)
In a medium saucepan mix together the rhubarb or rhubarb and fruit, the sugar, water and cornstarch. Mix well. Place over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring often. Boil 1 or 2 minutes, stirring until liquid clears and mixture thickens. remove from heat Allow to cool and store covered in the refrigerator for up to a week. Makes 4 cups. I prefer to use the sauce cold, but it can be heated. Use sauce to top ice cream, cake or pudding. Make rhubarb shortcake by spooning sauce into store-bought sponge shortcakes and topping with whipped topping. Spoon a couple tablespoons sauce on hot oatmeal.
I will soon be posting Rhubarb Streusel Shortbread Bars and a coffee cake that uses this sauce.
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