Rhubarb-Vanilla Jam Pictorial

Rhubarb Jam Pictorial

You may consider this, dear readers, act two in the three-act May drama that I’ve come to think of as rhubarb-stravaganza. The tragedy, or perhaps the ecstasy, of being interested in seasonal cooking is that when the window opens for an ingredient — especially if it’s a relatively short window — one must take advantage.

The rhubarb window is open, folks. And here I am, milking it for all it’s worth.

Vanilla Ice Cream with Rhubarb Compote

Vanilla Ice Cream with Rhubarb Compote

Here are two things about rhubarb that you might not know, that you might find interesting, but that might put you off of using that red, tart, delicious celery lookalike:

Thing one is that the use of rhubarb as food is a relatively recent innovation, dating back in Europe only to the seventeenth century, according to the Wikipedia. Until then, rhubarb was used medicinally — as a laxative. Apparently, in Europe, in China, in the Middle East, and elsewhere, if you went to the doctor complaining of being stopped up, a strong dose of rhubarb was the cure.