This has been a glorious weekend so far. The weather has been fabulous, and we’ve really been able to get out and enjoy it, plus get a lot of hard work done in the garden. (Maybe more on that later.) I was quite excited to see how well my rhubarb has done. I picked up a single rhubarb plant last year at our neighbourhood garage sale, so this is the first year I could harvest. It did great and there’s still new growth coming so I’m hoping for a second harvest.
I love rhubarb. We always grew it when I was young, and I’ve always enjoyed rhubarb pies and jam and crumbles. It definitely isn’t the sweetest thing going, but I love its sharp tang. And you can always use lots of sugar to sweeten it in a recipe if you wish. It’s particularly good combined with strawberries.
Did you know that the leaves and roots are inedible? The leaves are poisonous and must be thrown out. You can though make an effective pesticide by boiling the leaves and combining the resulting liquid in a spray bottle with a tiny bit of liquid soap (to make the liquid stick to plants). We always just steeped the leaves in a bucket of warm water in the sun. This is a great remedy for leaf-eating insects.
To harvest rhubarb you simply grasp a nice thick stalk low to the ground and pull it free, You may need to wiggle it a little. Then chop off the white bottom of the stalk and the leaf.
2 1/2 C. flour
2/3 C. brown sugar, packed
3 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 C. milk
1/4 C. oil or melted margarine
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 egg, beaten
2 C. finely chopped rhubarb
Heat oven to 400 degrees; grease or paper line 12 muffin cups. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add milk, oil, vanilla and egg. Stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. Fold in rhubarb. Divide batter between muffin cups. Sprinkle tops liberally with sugar, if desired. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, until light golden brown.
There are all kinds of recipes on this site for rhubarb in snacks, desserts and main courses. Check it out if you’re looking for some new ideas for this great spring vegetable.