If you drive along the backroads of Iowa, you’re sure to see beautiful farmsteads – including the century farm where I grew up. My husband and I live in a small town, but we both still enjoy visiting my parents on the farm. As you drive down their gravel road, you notice parts of the farm that harken back to years gone by.
Most farms of my grandparents’ era had windmills and large barns with stalls for the livestock and a haymow at the top. After a long day of hard work, farm hands stopped at the well to quench their thirst with a cold cup of fresh water. Holly hocks grew up around the windmill and farm wives tended big gardens, preserving the produce to feed their families.
One crop you often find in an Iowa garden during the spring months is rhubarb. My parents still have a patch, so when I was visiting them recently, Dad offered to share some with us. When cutting the rhubarb, he takes a knife and cuts off the leafy tops. He chooses the smaller stalks rather than the wider, overgrown ones.
I took the rhubarb home and made a Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp using this Taste of Home recipe with the strawberry option. (Click on the recipe name to link to the printable recipe.)
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3 cups sliced fresh rhubarb or frozen rhubarb, thawed
2 cups sliced peeled apples or sliced strawberries
1 cup quick-cooking or old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Vanilla ice cream, optional
1. In a large bowl, combine sugar and cornstarch. Add rhubarb and apples or strawberries; toss to coat. Spoon into an 8-in. square baking dish.
2. In a small bowl, combine the oats, brown sugar, butter, flour and cinnamon until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle over fruit. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes or until bubbly and fruit is tender. Serve warm with ice cream if desired. Yield: 8 servings.
Instead of baking it in the 8-inch square pan, I used 8-ounce coated baking cups. The recipe made enough for six of these cups. Here are some similar cups available for purchase online, in case you want to try this method. They are sold 50 to a pack.
My husband, Scott, and I enjoyed the first two servings and then tucked the other four cups in the freezer. When I want to warm one up, I put it in the microwave for about 1 1/2 minutes on high or until the crisp is warm and bubbly. I wondered if the crisp would stay crunchy after being frozen, but I was pleasantly surprised by how well they reheated for serving.
These are especially good with a scoop of ice cream or frozen yogurt. Yum!