One of my spring rites is making rhubarb pudding from the plants that have grown along the garden wall since well before my time, and I’ve lived here for several decades. I’ve added some of the new, deeper red rhubarb plants over the years, but only one has survived. This improved cultivar seems to lack the vigor of the old. So I cut a few stalks from it, then return to the faithful clumps for the bulk of my harvest. Today was my first pilgrimage to the rhubarb patch and I returned to the kitchen with a goodly supply of stalks. Now the pudding is chilling in the fridge in the big brown and white pottery bowl I’ve had for ages.
I love this stuff. Not everyone does. Rhubarb may be an acquired taste, but many of our little people like it, and young children haven’t had much of an opportunity to acquire a taste.
I don’t use an actual recipe because, as with many old Southern dishes, my mother-in-law taught me how to make this, and I’ve adapted it somewhat, but I’ll take a stab at a recipe for you.
(Rhubarb growing in the garden below)
Cut or purchase several good handfuls of rhubarb. The amount can vary. Chop the stems into two inch pieces and put them in a large saucepan (I use a 2-3 quart one) and barely cover with water. Simmer, stirring frequently, until the stems are completely broken down. Then whisk the cooked pieces until smooth. Season with sugar to taste (I use about one to two cups depending on the amount). Add two-three heaping tablespoons of instant tapioca (again, depending on how much liquid you’ve used) and simmer until the tiny pearls are clear. Add 2-3 tablespoons of strawberry gelatin and stir until dissolved. Set mixture aside and chill in fridge until it sets. Add cut up strawberries if available after the pudding has cooled.