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Ginger Rhubarb Ice Cream

Submitted by Paige Matthie, Salty: The Island’s Food Digest.

Tart enough to pucker your lips and pink as a blushing cheek, rhubarb is one of my favourite things and is an old staple of Spring cooking on Prince Edward Island. From jams and compotes to pies and crumbles, and even a fresh stalk cheerfully dipped in sugar, rhubarb appears in some of the most iconic sweets from the annals of PEI culinary history, and here I’ve added a couple of my own contributions for your consideration.

Technically a vegetable, rhubarb grows abundantly in our Island soil, and many of us harvest those slim pink stalks from our own backyards. But for those of you like me, without much of a green thumb or an established plant nearby, you can also pick some up in many of the local markets across PEI. When I shop for rhubarb, I look for stems with a deep pink flush to them (for colour only) and leaves that are still firm and fresh. Once you’ve got them in your kitchen you must cut off and discard the leaves because they are highly toxic, due to their high oxalic acid content. Give the stalks a rinse just before cooking and you’re ready to go.

As a harbinger of summer, I never hesitate to use rhubarb in treats that remind me of our most cherished season’s impending arrival. I feel a dose of rhubarb is the perfect tonic to see me through our imperfect Island spring to the glory days of summer, and my Rhubarb Ginger Ice Cream is just the ticket. With the fiery warmth of the ginger and sharp tartness of the rhubarb, this ice cream is a refreshing dessert either in a bowl or crunchy waffle cone. Its subtle pink hue can be amped up by adding a couple of drops of red food colouring, or a few mashed up raspberries if you want to keep it natural.

Ingredients

Directions

Add the rhubarb and ginger to a pot, without adding any water or sugar, and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer and cook, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes. The goal is to both combine the two flavours as well as to evaporate off a good amount of the water. This should help keep your final ice cream from forming ice crystals throughout. Cook down until you’re left with about 2 cups of stewed rhubarb and remove from the heat. Scoop out into a bowl and chill in the fridge.

Once the gingery rhubarb has chilled, whip your cream in a large bowl until you have soft peaks (when the tips of cream just fall back on themselves). Set aside, and combine your sweetened condensed milk with your rhubarb mixture until blended. Add a good scoop of your whipped cream to the sweet rhubarb mix and stir. This will help it all blend together smoothly. Add the now creamy rhubarb mix to the remaining cream and stir until mixed well.

Now is the time to give your mixture a quick taste. If you’re finding the sharpness of the rhubarb isn’t coming through quite enough, add a tablespoon of lemon juice and stir again. Also, If you have more stewed rhubarb kicking around, you can always add a few dollops and swirl it through!

Put the mix into the fridge in a sealable container and leave to set, about 4-5 hours. Give it a stir about once an hour and serve up to your favourite people.

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