Note: This article may contain commentary or the author's opinion.
Whenever rhubarb turns up in farmers’ market stalls and on supermarket shelves, I know we are firmly in the middle of spring. In Minnesota where I live the stalks appear just once a year, April to June, whereas in the Pacific Northwest they experience a second harvest in July. Because the season is short, rhubarb doesn’t tend to stay in stores for long and if you don’t sue the stalks right away, they can become stringy and woody, not something you want in your strawberry rhubarb pie, which is the absolute best fruit pie in the world (I don’t care what you blueberry fans say.)
If you love rhubarb and are not up to making pie, consider something colder, more refreshing, a recipe that you and your kids can make together.
These mini popsicles are fun to make, putting several family members in the kitchen working on the same task which is, of course, the delectable frozen treat. While someone dices the fruit, someone else can get the rest of the ingredients ready. Take turns stirring the fruit and sugar slurry and watch the rhubarb magically break down. You may want to help the kids pour the liquid mixture into the molds but be careful not to get the liquid all over as it can temporarily stain surfaces and fabrics. The finished product is a pretty magenta color and the texture is softer, almost creamy, than a regular popsicle.
Some people don’t like the lime zest, so feel free to omit it. Or you can try using lemon zest instead.
If you don’t have popsicle molds you can simply use ice trays and you’ll get even smaller pops.
- 2 1/2 cups diced rhubarb (around 2 stalks)
- 1 1/2 cups diced strawberries
- 1/3 cup granulated (white) sugar
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup or honey
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 teaspoon lime zest, more to taste, or less if you don’t want the limey tang
- Place a medium-sized sauce pan on the stove over medium heat.
- Add the rhubarb, strawberries, sugar, maple syrup, water, and lime zest to the saucepan. Stir until ingredients are combined and sugar has dissolved. Cook the mixture for about 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until fruit is completely broken down (it is okay if there is still a chunk or two left). Remove from the heat and let cool for about 10 to 15 minutes.
- Once the mixture is cooled, add the lime zest and stir until it is incorporated. Omit if you’re not crazy about lime.
- Pour mixture into popsicle molds or ice trays and place a popsicle stick about an inch deep in the mold. Or use your own popsicle sticks if you have some that came with the mold.
- Place the popsicle mold or ice trays into the freezer and freeze for 6 to 8 hours, or overnight.
- When ready to eat, you may need to run the popsicle molds or ice trays under hot water for a few seconds to loosen the ice pops.
- Sit back and enjoy biting into your new frozen treat!