Fear Of Rhubarb

I’ve been pretty curious about rhubarb for a couple of years but weirdly intimidated by it. It’s not an ingredient that either my mother or grandmother ever used when I was growing up. Ever. So I don’t have a context for it and that has made me kind of anxious. Never cooked with it. Never ate it. Weird – I know – because if nothing else I’m a pretty fearless cook. I’ll try cooking pretty much anything I’m curious about and eat any non-meat thing too – so I don’t get the ‘rhubarb phobia/block’ but anyway it exists and it was time for me to overcome it.

I’ve been super curious about it. I love the color. I love the concept of going both ways savory and sweet. I read lots of rhubarb recipes. My neighbor Lisa Zimble makes a rhubarb strawberry pie every year for our Mother’s Day bash and it’s supposed to be really something – everyone raves about it but I have never ever tried it – never even put a slice of that pie on my plate. Believe me I’ve been pondering the leap and waiting for the pretty pink stuff to come into season this year and last week there it was. Right on the bottom shelf in the Whole Foods Market produce section. The time had come. I could stall no longer. I bought 4 long stalks.

I started going through my recipes and my palms got sweaty – freaky right? I decided to start simple and so here we are with a beautiful pink in color, sweet and tangy in taste, cold and icy in texture, Rhubarb Granita. It does not disappoint.

Rhubarb Granita

(-Sunset Magazine, June 2013)



4 cups roughly chopped rhubarb

1 cup sugar

½ tsp kosher salt

2 ½ cups water (next time I’ll squeeze in a little lemon juice)


In a wide pot, cook rhubarb, sugar, salt and 2/12 cups wager over medium heat stirring often and mashing with a wooden spoon if needed, until rhubarb turns to mush.

Chopped rhubarb

Cooking rhubarb

Pour mixture through a strainer into a bowl and rub with the back of a spoon to push through as much of the rhubarb as possible.

Transfer to a shallow pan and freeze until firm, stirring and scraping with a fork every hour if possible, about 4 hours total.


Scrape up granite with fork and spoon into bowls. I also think that it would look really pretty to scrape out the inside of orange halves and fill the halves with the pretty pink granita. Stick a piece of rosemary or mint into the top of the filled cup for a pretty green accent. That’s what I think.

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