Rhubarb, Walnut and Orange Quick Bread

DSC_0013Thank goodness the farmers market is back! I’ve really been missing my early saturday morning stroll among the veggies and pastries. Right now in Michigan, asparagus, rhubarb and greens are everywhere – Pete and I devour a pound of grilled asparagus easily when it’s this good. Maybe that isn’t something I should be so proud of…

I wish I could do the same with rhubarb, but unfortunately, a pound of grilled rhubarb just doesn’t sound that appetizing. Rhubarb requires a little creativity, and more than a little sugar.

This tart, celery-like plant has a very interesting history. The earliest records of rhubarb date back to 2700 B.C.E. in China, where it was used as a medicine to cure everything from high fevers, to the plague and STIs. And watch out, it’s been used as a laxative for the past 5,000 years. Rhubarb made its way to Europe in the early 1600’s, where it remained a medicine until the 1770’s when a farmer’s wife put it in a pie and decided it was delicious… I truly adore this woman, whoever she is.

When rhubarb finally made it to the U.S. in the early 1800’s, it was a produce item and nothing more. But we had to make our mark on the plant somehow, so in 1947 New York courts decided that because we ate rhubarb like a fruit, it would be a fruit by law – every other country with this plant considers it a vegetable. Making rhubarb an official fruit lowered it’s import tariffs; vegetable tariffs were higher than fruit tariffs.

And there’s a quick and snappy summary of that fruit so many people have growing in their back yard without even knowing it.

I’m proud to say I dreamt up the following recipe on my own! Walnuts and rhubarb seem like best friends to me, and the orange really brightens everything up, I hope you like it!

Rhubarb, Walnut and Orange Quick Bread

  • 1 cup wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup AP
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • zest and juice of one orange
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup light oil
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup rhubarb, chopped

Preheat your oven to 375 and combine the dry ingredients and zest. Then combine the eggs, orange juice, buttermilk and oil, whisk to break apart the egg yolks.

DSC_0001Stir the wet ingredients into the dry just until combined, then fold in the rhubarb and walnuts. Grease a standard loaf pan and pour in the batter.

DSC_0003Bake 50-60 minutes until golden and cracked on top. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing.

DSC_0006Remove from the pan and allow to cool completely on a wire cooling rack. Slice and enjoy (store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days).

DSC_0017This bread is great as a super fast breakfast on the go, or a nice snack with coffee for an afternoon with the kitties…

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