There are three farmers markets, on three different days of the week near our place and each is only a short walk or bike ride away. I love having so much local fresh food at my fingertips and feel very thankful for it... even when I have to wait another couple more weeks for the stands to really fill up.
The markets started about two weeks ago, as they most likely did all over the country, but at the moment, the ones near me are showing minimal produce. This is because the NW had one of the coldest April's on record, so everything is off to a late start. Luckily there has been a few selling asparagus, oh I can't get enough of it (recipes coming soon!), but the other day I also managed to pick up some rhubarb too.
I have some of my own rhubarb, that was from my grandpas house growing in the garden, but since I just planted it and they're still pretty small, I decided I'd give them another year before picking.
So at the market, when I spied the long stalks of red and green, I loaded my arms up to fill my need and headed home. I grabbed enough for this bread plus extra to freeze for later use. I think I may load up even more to freeze so I can enjoy it throughout the Summer.
This bread isn't super sweet, but just sweet enough to really play off the tartness of the rhubarb. The crust is slightly crunchy and adds an extra sweetness and aroma of orange zest before you get to the tender bread center. I've given directions below for making homemade buttermilk with almond milk, but feel free to use real buttermilk and skip that step if you prefer. The whole wheat pastry flour can be replaced by white whole wheat or all purpose flour. This recipe can easily be doubled; eat one now freeze the other for later!
Rhubarb Walnut Bread
makes 1 loaf
1/4 cup rolled oats
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon fresh grated orange peel
1 tablespoon coconut oil or butter, softened
1 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice or vinegar + a scant 1/2 cup almond milk (directions below)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup chopped fresh uncooked rhubarb
1/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Grease a loaf pan, lining if you would like, I just greased mine.
Prepare the topping first. Place the brown sugar, rolled oats, orange peel and coconut oil in a small bowl. Stir to mix and set aside.
If you are using real buttermilk skip ahead to the next step. To make your own buttermilk, first place the 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice or vinegar into a liquid measuring cup. Then pour in the almond milk to the 1/2 cup mark. Let sit for about 10 minutes while you prepare everything else.
Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt into a medium size bowl, set aside.
Place the brown sugar and oil into a large bowl and stir well to combine. Beat the egg and vanilla into the buttermilk mixture. Pour in with the brown sugar mixture and stir well to combine.
Gently fold in the flour mixture, just until combined. Fold in the rhubarb and walnuts. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and sprinkle the top with the oat topping mixture.
Bake for about 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto baking racks. Cool completely and store tightly wrapped. The bread will slice much more easily if left to cool completely.