I went to the farmer’s market yesterday morning hell-bent on finding some rhubarb. At the grocery store I’ve only seen pitiful little green stems from Oregon and Washington (where they’re apparently grown in a hot house), but it’s Spring and it’s rhubarb time! Right? I thought so, until I tore around the farmer’s market and couldn’t find any. I finally gave up my rhubarb jam aspirations for the week and went about buying some other fruits and veggies (including a full flat of strawberries!). Then, lo and behold, behind some chard I spied two beaten up, squat little stalks of pink rhubarb. It wasn’t exactly what I was hoping for (I was picturing bushels of long and perky stalks), but it was my very first rhubarb of the season. Yay!
I immediately knew I was going to make ice cream with my precious rhubarb. The only question was whether or not to include strawberries in the ice cream. I eventually decided not to because I love the tart and unusual taste of the rhubarb on it’s own. I also thought it would be nice to top the ice cream with a pile of fresh, chopped berries.
I didn’t want the ice cream to be too sweet, so I could let the bright flavor of the rhubarb shine. I also didn’t want a custard (egg) base, which I thought would be too heavy for the rhubarb. So, eventually I went with a simple combination of whole milk (don’t use low-fat!) and heavy cream for a light and not-too-sweet ice cream. If you have more rhubarb than I did, you could easily double the recipe.
Rhubarb Ice Cream
Makes 3 c of ice cream
- 2 medium-sized stalks of rhubarb, diced
- 1/2 c evaporated cane juice
- juice of 1 lemon (~2 T)
- 1 c whole milk
- 1 c heavy cream
Add the rhubarb, sugar and lemon juice to a small pot. Simmer until rhubarb is soft, about 5 minutes.
Pour rhubarb mixture into a blender (or food processor). Blend until rhubarb mixture is smooth.
Add milk and cream. Blend at a low speed until mixed. Don’t blend at a high speed or you’ll accidentally make butter (I’ve done that before…yuck…and there’s no way to recover the ice cream).
Put mixture in freezer to cool it down for about 15 min.
Add the mixture to your ice cream machine and twirl around until frozen, about 30 minutes for me. (My recommended ice cream maker — thanks to Teel for giving me this and opening my eyes to the world of homemade ice cream!)
If your ice cream still isn’t as firm as you want it to be, pack it in a container and put it in the freezer for a little while longer.