Sunday, May 1, 2011

Spring has Sprung. Well, sort of.

I went to the opening day of the Minneapolis Farmer's Market this morning and it was interesting to say the least. For starters, it was bitter cold and the wind was insane. What a beautiful May Day in Minnesota, below normal temps and the occasional flurry of snow.  There wasn't much at the market today, but they managed to have bananas. I don't know where they grow bananas in Minnesota, but I'd like to see the farm! Uff. Oh, and there was also people doing some sort of jig to an accordion.  It was sort of an odd dance, but I couldn't take my eyes off them.  They had these strange costumes on with high socks and they were wearing their winter coats. After walking around the entire market, I was a little disappointed because I wanted fresh rhubarb and there wasn't any. To me spring is rhubarb, and other than baseball, that's my favorite part about this season.  All the church women back home have rhubarb up to their ears, and I'm very jealous of them for that. 

So, since I left without my rhubarb I felt like I had to buy something. Farm fresh eggs is what I chose, I'll take them any chance I can get. I was still determined to find rhubarb so I bought a bag of frozen rhubarb from Lund's. It's the only store that I've seen it in.  I've never baked with frozen, store-bought rhubarb, but it worked out great! Don't get me wrong, it's not nearly as tasty as fresh from the garden, but it was a fine substitute nonetheless. 

One of my top five favorite rhubarb treats is a rhubarb muffin. Man, they are so delicious. They have a sugar and cinnamon topping and are so moist and tart. You might be sick of hearing about grandma's cookbook, but this recipe came from there. She is master of all things rhubarb, of course. I think the reason it's used so much on the farm is because it grows like a weed out there. One plant can yield quite a bit, and it keeps growing for the first few months of summer. Also, you only have to plant it once and every year it just keeps coming back bigger and better.

This is my small attempt to bring Spring to my house even though its 40 degrees outside.  I hope you are able to get your hands on some rhubarb to try them.

Rhubarb Muffins:

Beat together:
1 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk
2 tsp vanilla 
1 tsp cinnamon 
dash of nutmeg
1/2 cup walnuts (optional)
1 1/2 cups rhubarb
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
 Cinnamon Topping:
1 tablespoon melted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

Stir just until combined. Fill baking cups about 2/3 cup full.  Before baking scatter cinnamon topping and press lightly into batter. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Makes 24. 

This recipe is incredibly easy to make. The frozen rhubarb wasn't the same, so I suggest waiting until you can get fresh stalks. Also, chop the pieces of rhubarb into about 1-inch pieces. The muffins taste better with smaller chunk of rhubarb spread throughout.  


  1. We're frustrated with the late spring, too. In fact, it's been so cold we're thinking about renaming ourselves Minneapolis Farmer's Parka-et. The rhubarb will come.

  2. I'm with you on the rhubarb-fanaticism.

    Hit up the co-ops! I saw fresh rhubarb at both seward and the wedge this past week. From California, but, for now, fresh is still better than nothing.