Rhubarb Smack

I *loathe* rhubarb. Its in season wherever I go, whenever I go- how is this fucking possible? I was touring Ireland’s Kylemore Abbey’s ridiculous kitchen garden last year, got lost and suddenly found myself in an acre of rhubarb. “Fucking figures”.   The entirety of Ireland couldn’t need that much.

When I moved to my current house, I was none too pleased to realize that an entire bed was taken over by rhubarb and mint. My landlord was still moving out as I took a shovel and started the eviction process. The rhiozome was, I’m not joking, 4′ x 4′. Though that bed now happily houses my tomatoes and basil. It hasn’t shocked me that I’ve lost the war to a few offshoots outside the beds.  In the unending and eventually funny battle for my yard, friends come and hack the rhubarb down to the point of clear dismemberment only for me to emerge from my house the next day and BAM. Full on rhubarb nation, as if the day before never happened. It is the worst kind of Groundhog Day.


Fruits in my home become something my friends have named “smack”. Smack is not a preserve, but its too viscous for a syrup. We generally pour it over ice cream, waffles or pancakes, but you’d bathe in it if you could. Friends ask for a recipe, but it changes every time, based on the fruit. So here is rhubarb smack, destined for jars to be given away. Cause again- its fucking rhubarb. 


  • Rhubarb, the less the better, IMO
  • Strawberries or raspberries to mask the taste of the above rhubarb, ratio of 1 to 5. I have no idea- I’m just making this up.
  • some white sugar
  • some orange juice
  • star anise
  • a big hunk of ginger
  • nutmeg
  • allspice
  • tamarind powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • a little honey

prep time: growing (nada. it’ll grow no matter how you try to kill it). preserving (meh… an hour? maybe two?)
yield: still too much fucking rhubarb, if you ask me

3 thoughts on “Rhubarb Smack

  1. I do believe that was triple berry smack, if it was midsummer. There was rhubarb in that, with strawberries and raspberries.

  2. I now have a new name for jellies and jams that don’t set properly. Thanks for that!

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