Rhubarb Bars

Rhubarb…glorious rhubarb!

Rhubarb is traditionally not a southern food and years ago, you rarely saw it cross the Mason Dixon Line, unless you happened to be a transplant from the north or have Scandinavian roots.  My mother’s family migrated from Finland to Montana at the turn of the century.  My grandmother was born in a coal mining area of Montana and rhubarb grew right outside her back door so finding ways to cook rhubarb was a must!  Her grandmother would make wonderful rhubarb pies.  Her love for rhubarb was passed down to us via her tart rhubarb pies that we grew up eating, and today, we also make these rhubarb bars.

It is getting easier to find rhubarb in our  Texas grocery stores and if we see it we tend to stock up and freeze it when we can. If you haven’t tasted rhubarb before, the taste is similar to a cross between a crisp apple and a tart citrus.  The best rhubarb comes from the first crops in late winter to early spring.  In June and July, the fruit is more bitter and it loses it’s good tart taste.  Our family doesn’t use a lot of sugar when cooking rhubarb as we prefer to retain the tartness of the fruit.   If you prefer a sweeter bar, add an additional cup of sugar to the recipe.   These bars have a nice tartness to them with a crumbly topping.

Filling:

5 cups chopped rhubarb
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla

Wash rhubarb and slice the ends off and discard.  Chop rhubarb stalks.

In a sauce pot, add all ingredients. Photo below shows rhubarb mixed with sugar….YUM!

Slowly stir mixture until thickened.


Allow to cool.

Base:

1 1/2 cup oatmeal
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup butter
1/2 cup pecans or walnuts, crushed

Mix all ingredients together with a fork, or your hands, in a mixing bowl until crumbly.

Pat 3/4 of the mixture into a 13X9 baking pan.

Pour cooked rhubarb over the top and then sprinkle with the remaining crumbs over the top.

Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes, or until browned on top.

Allow to cool and cut into bars.

Enjoy!

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