Welcome to A Tranquil Nook Blog

We welcome you to follow along on our crafty adventures. Frank is a farmer by day, jewelry and hand braided cord-maker by night. Jane simply fiddles with fabric and fiber any time she can. We share things about what we make, how we make it, where you can get it.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Rhubarb Salsa - not dancing, eating Good

I've always been fascinated by rhubarb, so pretty yet so full of pucker power. 20 odd years ago, Mr Frank, who professes a deep dislike of rhubarb, mowed down my rhubarb plants. No more rhubarb was ever planted here and none crossed the doorstep --- Until this spring..... First there was the Rhubarb Bash at Farmers Market, then I found some amazing recipes..... Rhubarb Relish and Rhubarb Salsa....... oh me oh my..... I had to try these.
Fresh picked Rhubarb from Bemidji's Natural Choice Farmers Market June 18
how could I pass this up?

Extracting petty revenge after 20 odd years, I made Mr Frank buy rhubarb, not once but twice. Two weeks in a row, he tightened his belt, got out his wallet and purchased a 2 lb bag of rhubarb.

Week 1 -June 18, the rhubarb became canned relish. Thanks to Jocasta Innes and her fine little recipe book: The Country Preserves Companion
in which this recipe appears
Collins Publishers p.55 ISBN 0 00 255493 3
Oh YES! A sweet relish with a tang. We mixed it with some canned chicken and a little mayo to make chicken salad sandwiches. Very good, and even Mr Frank liked it. 6 half pint jars are now in the storage area, waiting on the shelf. Putting food by is our standard practice. Nice to add a new relish to the pool.

That success got me searching the web for more rhubarb recipes - relish led to salsa. Two appealed to me. Especially one using honey. Oh boy, that translated to a sweetner with minimal processing (using local honey from Kroeger and Rixen Farm) rather than refined cane sugar.
Honey from the hives at Kroeger and Rixen Farm in Nebish, MN
find Gail at Bemidji's Natural Choice Farmers Market most Saturdays

Not having all the ingredients in the recipe, and of course just like with sewing, I seldom follow the exact directions and adapt with past experience and what is available in the stash or larder at the time. Here is my version of a

Rhubarb and Apple Salsa

2 cups rhubarb, diced small, after removing all of the outer strings
1 cup apple, peeled and chopped
3 green onions thinly sliced
1 Tablespoon bottled key-lime juice
2 Tablespoons honey (from Kroeger & Rixen Farm, of course)
1/4 of a jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped fine. (yes, barely there, but aware)

Steam blanch chopped rhubarb for 2 minutes let cool.
Stir all together until thoroughly combined.
Let it sit in a glass jar overnight to meld flavors. Keep refrigerated.
- sweet and mild with a little tang, soooooo nice.

Light green = Rhubarb Apple Salsa Dark green = Rhubarb Cilantro Salsa
photo by Rochell Carpenter

Then because there was beautiful cilantro at market (thank you high tunnel technology and Full Moon Farm) as well as jalapeno pepper and green onions. AND Mr Frank likes spicier and hotter salsa gave this one a try.

Rhubarb/Cilantro Salsa
2 cups chopped rhubarb
1 cup chopped sweet onion (I used Vidalia)
4 or 5 green onions
1 teaspoon Honey
1 cup fresh cilantro
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1 Tablespoon bottled key-lime juice
drizzle of olive oil
generous dash of cumin

Before chopping the rhubarb remove some or most of the more obvious outer strings. Combine all ingredients in a glass bowl, add just half of the jalapeno first and try it for hotness level, add more if desired. *- based on recipe from Simple and Tasty Blog check out the link for their original which uses green and yellow peppers and less onion and cilantro.

This one received rave reviews at the group sampling taste test when offer at Rail River Folk School. One fellow suggested it would be superb with fish -- anyone have fresh Walleye? Oh YES. try the rhubarb and cilantro salsa with Walleye! He also suggested a bit of cucumber would blend well in this recipe and be make a lovely refreshing salsa.

Well it has been a tongue tingling two weeks. So much fun.

Thanks to all the producers at market for many of the fresh ingredients and thanks to Mr Frank for being brave enough to try rhubarb in these relishes and salsas.



  1. Hmm, rhubarb. *frowny face*

    Though I do like my ornamental rhubarb in my back yard. It's gigantic and grows these fantastic red flowers.

  2. You know, this sounds like my recipe green salsa (with tomatillos). I think I'll try it this weekend!