With nearly 24 hours of daylight, cool temperatures, and gravelly topsoil left behind by the glaciers that carved the Mat-Su valley out of the surrounding mountains, my hometown is the ideal place to grow rhubarb. I remember summers when my aunt would take a weed whacker to her rhubarb patch only to have it grow back in a week. This abundance did not prepare me for New York, where rhubarb only grows in June and costs $6 a lb.
My favorite way to eat rhubarb is picking the baby stalks, thinner than my pinky finger and bright red at the tip, and dipping the end in sugar while sitting on a dock and listening to the loons echo across the lake. The next best way is the compote my G-ma Barbara used to send home with me in a Tupperware container when I visited her as a kid. You can eat this compote on toast, over ice cream, with yogurt, over cake, and even as a substitute for apple sauce if you like something sweet to eat with your pork chops. It is also easy to make and keeps in the fridge for a month or so? I actually don’t know. I have never had a rhubarb compote last more than a week at my house.
NOTE: Rhubarb leaves are toxic so don’t eat them and don’t let your pets eat them.
6 parts rhubarb stalks, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
1 part sugar
Put ingredients in medium sauce pan and cook on medium-high heat until it comes to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for about five minutes. Remove from heat and place in a heat-proof, air tight container. Cool, uncovered, at room temperature before covering. Keep in fridge.