It’s rhubarb season! For some reason or another I always assumed rhubarb was an end of the summer crop. In grade school, my neighbors had this small garden in their backyard, where they would grow tomatoes, peppers, herbs and rhubarb! They had so much rhubarb at the end of the summer that they would give my mom a couple of stalks. It wasn’t until the beginning of May when my favorite bloggers were baking up a storm with rhubarb, when I realized it was a spring vegetable. Is it a vegetable?
This recipe was what introduced me to rhubarb. I remember when it was on our kitchen counter for the first time and I asked, “What’s that?” And ever since, I’ve loved rhubarb! My favorite pies have rhubarb – I love the sweet and puckery taste from a strawberry rhubarb or bumble berry pie. I like to think of rhubarb as celery’s evil genius sibling. It looks similar to celery, but it has a red-pinkish hue, bitter if eaten raw, a pain in the ass to peel, but adds a sweet and/or tartness to baked goods.
So what does my mom decide to do when my neighbors give her a bunch of rhubarb? She made rhubarb bread! The story goes, that in college, her roommate’s mom made rhubarb bread a lot. Her roommate would be sent back to school with a loaf of rhubarb bread.
I haven’t had this bread since grade school, but when I followed the recipe, it tasted as I remembered! This bread isn’t tart what so ever! It’s sweet, but not too sweet and really moist. There’s a lot of brown sugar, but the sugar balances out the tart rhubarb. Oh, and the streusel topping you see on top of the bread, it’s like brown sugar sand that melts in your mouth! The type of sand that you wish flew into your mouth on a windy day at the beach.
See that streusel on the plate, doesn’t it look like sand!?
The hardest part about the this bread is prepping the rhubarb. It’s outer skin is very fibrous and harder to peel than celery. **Make sure you wear yucky clothes or an apron when peeling rhubarb, because red dye residue likes to splatter from the peel. Luckily it doesn’t stain as bad as beets.
I love eating this bread for breakfast! It’s a perfect way to start your day! I wish my old neighbors still lived next door, because I miss their rhubarb!
Rhubarb Bread Recipe: Makes 2 Loaves
1 1/2 C. Packed Light Brown Sugar
2/3 C. Oil
1 C. Sour Milk or Buttermilk
1 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
2 1/2 C. All Purpose Flour
1 1/2 C. Small Diced Fresh Rhubarb (about 3-4 stalks)
1/2 C. Flour
1/2 C. Light Brown Sugar
2 tbsp. Butter
Preheat the oven to 325.
1. Wash and peel the rhubarb. Cut the rhubarb in a small dice, shown like the picture above. Set aside.
2. Mix together ingredients as listed, mixing in each as the other is well incorporated. (Before adding the rhubarb, see step 3). The batter should be thin.
3. Before adding the rhubarb, toss in a tablespoon of flour. Tossing rhubarb in flour will insure that the rhubarb doesn’t fall to the bottom of the batter before and during baking.
4. Mix the streusel together with a pastry blender, potato masher or crumble with finger tips.
5. Grease two loaf pans and fill 2/3 of the way and distribute the streusel topping evenly on both loaves. Bake for 40 to 60 minutes, cover loaves loosely with aluminum foil after 30 minutes to insure the tops don’t burn.
These loaves freeze really well!
I hope you enjoy! If you know a better/easier way to peel rhubarb, let me know!