I thought my grandmas had invented the flavor combo of rhubarb strawberry. We moved around when I was young, but nothing ever tasted better than the strawberry rhubarb sauce at my Grandma Catherine’s house on the farm near Bismarck North Dakota.
As a kid, I lived in Germany for three years, but I could always get the best German food from one of the best German Russian cooks I have ever known, my Grandma Edna. She owned several restaurants, and has been in many German from Russia cookbooks.
Kuchen - a traditional German dessert
One of these treasured recipes is Kuchen (pronounced kook-in), a custardy fruit dessert, that’s like a cross between pie and cake. “Kaffee and Kuchen” is a tradition hundreds of years old - much like teatime in Great Britain – when Germans gather with friends and family to enjoy kuchens and other treats with a hot cup of coffee or tea.
Sadly, both my grandmas have passed away, which is why this recipe is so special to me, my family, and my community. A recipe can bring the memories of your loved ones into the present moment. Even just the ingredients, like rhubarb strawberry. Those words alone make me think of my grandmas.
As I age, I want my family to think the same thing. In fact, I have already named myself “The Kuchen Grandma,” even though I don’t have any grandkids yet. Keeping health in mind, I am so happy to have a smoothie recipe that tastes like strawberry rhubarb kuchen, but is more calorie, sugar, and fat conscious. Plus, you aren’t putting in all the work of making a kuchen. (As any German knows, you never make just one kuchen.)
What does a kuchen recipe from South Dakota look like?
Kuchen recipes include a sweet bread crust baked on a pie plate, filled with fruit like apricot, cherry, blueberry, prune, raisin, apple, rhubarb, strawberry rhubarb, raspberry, strawberry, peach, and lemon, sometimes cottage cheese, or just all custard, All kuchens have a creamy sweet custard topping the fruit with a sprinkle of cinnamon on top.
They are so good, like eating ice cream.
Kuchen is often eaten for breakfast and is almost always available at a church potluck. So it is important for me to know how to make it. Currently, I fail miserably with the crust.
It tastes like kuchen!
One day when my youngest son and I were drinking this rhubarb strawberry high protein shake, he said, “This tastes like kuchen!”
It was at that moment I knew this recipe had to be shared.
Rhubarb is a good thing
I am not sure if rhubarb is a thing in your area. For Germans, especially those who grew up near Bismarck North Dakota, rhubarb is an ingredient used to make so many good things.
Is Rhubarb a Fruit?
This may surprise you, but rhubarb is a vegetable that is often categorized as a fruit. This versatile vegetable can be used on meats, for sauces and dips, or for cakes, desserts, and drinks: I have even tasted rhubarb beer.
The primary flavor of rhubarb is tart, yet there can be a sweetness to it. Think of a lime… it is tart, yet there is a hint of sweet. At least that’s how rhubarb tastes to me.
Red Stalks: The Rhubarb Plant
In South Dakota, where I currently live, the rhubarb growing season is in early spring and lasts through fall.
You can recognize it by it’s bright red stalks and big leaves. (They come in green too, but trust me - red stalks are the BEST!)
Where to get rhubarb
If you are harvesting your own rhubarb
The ideal way to harvest rhubarb is to take the base of a stalk, twist and gently pull it away from the plant. This signals the plant to produce a new stalk, resulting in a more abundant yield and a stronger rhubarb plant. If you slice it off with a knife, the remaining stem withers and dries up, instead of continuing to grow.
I find red rhubarb to be temperamental, so I only pick what I am going to use as I go. Then, when the growing season is almost over, I will pick more, cut it up and freeze it.
You can not eat rhubarb leaves
Rhubarb leaves are regarded as inedible because of their high oxalic acid content, which will cause a distressed tummy and, if eaten over a long term, could cause kidney stones. So I just cut the leaves straight off and throw them in the compost pile before I even bring it into the house.
Finding Rhubarb at the Farmer’s Market
A local farmer's market would likely have some if rhubarb is not readily available to you and you would like it fresh. To find where a farmers market is near you, you can search the Farmers Market Directory https://www.ams.usda.gov/local-food-directories/farmersmarkets
An easy way for your phone to tell you where a farmer’s market is, is to type in the search bar:
- nearest farmers market to me
- farmers market near me
- farmers market today near me
- farmers market near me today
- farmers market on sunday
- farmers market sunday
- farmers market near me sunday
- farmers market today
- farmers market saturday
- nearest farmers market
- farmers market open today
- nearby farmers market
- farmers market monday
Finding rhubarb at the grocery store
Many grocery stores will have diced frozen rhubarb in bags in the freezer section. This recipe works best with several frozen ingredients, so using frozen rhubarb or strawberries will not hurt the taste and may improve it.
Mealtime conversation starters
Your challenge is to connect or reconnect with another. Whether it is making a new friend or reconnecting with someone you lost touch with. Today - you start the conversation.
Call, text or ask in person:
What is your most treasured memory of us?
Rhubarb Strawberry Smoothie
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- ½ cup Rhubarb diced, fresh or frozen
- 5 large Strawberries diced, fresh or frozen
- ½ cup 2% milk or plant milk of choice
- ¼ cup 2% greek yogurt *see notes
- ½ tsp Ground cinnamon
- 1 tbsp Honey *see notes
- 1 serving Vanilla protein powder *see notes
- Add all ingredients into the blender in the order listed.
- Place the lid on and run for 60-90 seconds until smooth and creamy.
- Pour into a pint glass and and enjoy with a reusable straw!
Scoop the correct amount for one complete serving according to the package instructions.
Hand Size Portions
When you look at the nutritional values of a meal to log what you are eating, that is called tracking macros. A lot of people use this method to reach their health goals.
Looking at hand portion size and using this method to gauge how and what you eat is also a great method to help you reach your health goals. Many people who use this method often think this form of tracking meals is easier and more sustainable for a lifetime.
Want to learn more about hand portion size and how to use it to reach your goals? Check out the article How to Get Started with Hand Portion Sizes.
Michelle Johnson Jerome is an expert on busting through perfectionism. She is passionate about helping others live life with purpose and joy. By drawing on her extensive experience as a nutrition coach, personal trainer, and yoga instructor she helps develop a realistic approach to goal setting that allows you to make progress and stop obsessing over mistakes.
Find other articles written by Michelle on her coach profile. Discover your "easy button": learn how to manage life's unpleasant parts so you can move forward, reach your goals, and live your best life.