Rhubarb is one of the first vegetables ready to use in spring. It is commonly used as a fruit in sauce, pie, cookies, bars and famous dessert crisps and crumbles. Rhubarb is a good source of vitamins K and C, dietary fiber, calcium and potassium. One cup of cooked rhubarb actually equals as much calcium as a glass of milk.

If you have plentiful rhubarb, you can freeze some for up to a year. Simply wash off dirt, trim toxic leaves and pat dry. Slice into 1 inch cubes. If you want to keep the pretty pink color, blanch in a pot of boiling water for one minute. Drain immediately and pat dry. Freeze portioned in amounts for the recipe you will make. I usually freeze in 4 cup quart freezer bags.

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Have the kids help you make a rhubarb pizza for dessert.

Rhubarb Pizza

¼ cup sugar

1 cup flour

1 tsp. baking powder

¼ tsp. salt

2 Tbsp. butter

1 egg

2 Tbsp. milk

3 cups rhubarb, chopped into 1 inch pieces

3 ounce package strawberry jello

Topping:

1 cup sugar

½ cup flour

½ cup melted butter.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix sugar, flour, baking powder, salt, and butter until crumbly. Mix egg with milk and add to mixture. Pat mixture onto round pizza pan. Place rhubarb on crust. Sprinkle jello on top. Mix topping ingredients. Sprinkle on top of rhubarb-jello mixture. Bake 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes. Cut into pizza wedges.

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This pretty rhubarb sauce is perfect for summer desserts. Serve it over ice cream or pound cake or eaten in a bowl like you would eat applesauce.

Rhubarb Sauce with Strawberry Jell-O

8 cups rhubarb, diced

3 cups water

1 cup granulated sugar

1 (3 ounce) package of strawberry jello

Add the rhubarb, water and sugar into a saucepan, Heat over medium heat until boiled. Let simmer for 5 minutes or until the rhubarb is tender and broken down. Remove from the heat and stir in package of strawberry jello. Let cool. Store in the refrigerator. Yield: 5 cups.

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Making muffins is a great way to use rhubarb. This recipe makes a big batch. They are light and flavorful topped with a delicious streusel crunch.

Rhubarb Muffins with A Little Bit of Streusel On Topping

Muffins:

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. salt

1 ½ cup small diced rhubarb

1 ¼ cups lightly packed brown sugar

½ cup vegetable oil

1 large egg

1 tsp. vanilla

1 cup buttermilk

Streusel:

1 Tbsp. butter, softened

¼ cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup lightly packed brown sugar

¼ tsp. cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line two 12-cup muffin tins with liners or grease the cups with cooking spray. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and powder and salt. Toss in the chopped rhubarb and stir to coat. In a medium bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, oil, egg, vanilla and buttermilk until smooth. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. Stir just until combined. DO NOT OVERMIX. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups. In a small bowl, stir together the streusel ingredients with a fork until crumbly and combined, Sprinkle a little bit- about a tsp. on top of each muffin. Bake for 10-20 minutes until the tips of the muffins spring back to the touch and a toothpick comes out clean. Don’t over-bake or the muffins may be dry. Let muffins cool for five minutes before removing from the pans to cool completely on a wire rack. They keep great covered at room temperature for several days. Makes 24 muffins.