tart rhubarbs, allotment garden, and sweet afternoons

celebrating the season with an all-around rhubarb compote recipe

a bit late on posting this, but I recently received about a kilo of rhubarb from a Finnish friend who happens to have an allotment garden here in the Finnish Capital Area. On the day he gave the rhubarb to me (along with a bunch of local lovage-another post), the vegetable was glistening in the Nordic summer that was about to start.

with its shiny stalks, vibrant with its red-green combo, my friend was so eager to tell me that it has only been 10 minutes since he plucked this beauty off of the land!

speaking of allotment gardens, since there’s a culture revolving around it, it’s such a breath of fresh air to see people buying themselves seeds, tiny plants, flowers and sacks of soil with so much eagerness in their faces. it’s as if they’ve been waiting for the moment to come when they could participate in cultivating life in their tiny pieces of land.

it feels spiritual in a sense.

I don’t know. :/

anyway…

coming from a different culture where we don’t have rhubarb as a staple (tropical Philippines) I was curious as to how Finnish people treat this Spring vegetable treat. I wasn’t surprised at all to learn that it’s customary to enjoy the height of its flavor by doing little to it.

rhubarb pie tops the list of the beloved spring delicacies. as the crisp buttery crumbs greatly contrast with the soft, sweet, tart and tender pieces of caramelized rhubarb.

but if one has far too many, making jams would always be someone’s activity before the season of the vegetable ends. there’s such a devoutness on ‘preserving summer’ since one will be greeted by long darkness and harsh bitter cold winds once the Ber months begin. perhaps that explains why turning any spring-summer produce into any type of preserves is such part of the household culture. it isn’t uncommon to see jam sugar (sugar with some added pectin to make jams and other sweet preserves) in most markets here.

going back to the bundle of rhubarb that was handed to me, i figured i wanna enjoy its tartness in both sweet and savoury applications so i turned to making a cross between a compote, a marmalade and a chutney. adding a few ingredients to add some layers of flavors to complement this sunny produce.

here’s the recipe

770gms rhubarb, chopped

35gms ginger, crushed

10gms mandarin peels

1pc star anise

190gms white sugar

  • simply combine everything in a pot. add in about 100mls of water. then bring to a simmer. cover and cook for about 25 minutes over low heat.

enjoy sweet and warm with some vanilla ice cream.

or savoury and hot with some roasted duck (or chicken, or turkey). or even any soy-glazed roasted protein like pork, beef and perhaps tofu.

thanks for reading in!

until next time. :)

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