Rhubarb in the Garden
Although I am fond of it and it’s a perennial, which makes it easy to grow, rhubarb is an ugly plant, takes up a lot of space, has a short harvesting time, and last spring we didn’t do much with it. So, this year, I tried to pick some and use it in early spring when rhubarb, asparagus, and the ubiquitous mint are the only plants growing in the yard. (Raspberries soon!)
Here’s a picture of our two rhubarb plants after I hacked off many of the edible stalks, making it look even uglier than it already was:
I killed our third rhubarb plant last year cutting it back too drastically, and I have also just found out that we shouldn’t be cutting the stalks off the plants, but gently twisting them off, so I hope these hardy perennials are hardy enough to withstand this additional mistreatment, and we’ll harvest our rhubarb correctly from now on.
Also, not all rhubarb is red! Did you know that?
I always thought rhubarb was a New England native vegetable, but it turns out it’s an Asian plant, according to Merriam-Webster.
any of a genus (Rheum) of Asian plants of the buckwheat family having large leaves with thick succulent petioles often used as food; also : the petioles of rhubarb
the dried rhizome and roots of any of several rhubarbs (as Rheum officinale and R. palmatum) grown in China and Tibet and used as a purgative and stomachic
a heated dispute or controversy
Rhubarb Recipes I Tried
Fresh Summer Fruit Salad (AllRecipes)
I didn’t really follow this recipe, but wanted to see if I could use rhubarb in a fruit salad, so found out from this recipe that you can cook up chopped rhubarb in sugar water (just as you might do with cranberries) to make a sauce, and add then add it to fruit salad. Tasty!
Rhubarb Custard Ramekins (Nancy Guppy, Registered Dietician)
I used smaller custard cups to bake these, so came out with six instead of three. Otherwise, I followed the recipe exactly, except for maybe adding a little bit more nutmeg, and they were a hit. Even better warm, with a little whipped cream or vanilla ice cream on top.
Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp Bars (Smitten Kitchen)
I substituted gluten-free flour in this recipe and had to use a larger-sized pan than called for, so they were a little thin. I also used a higher proportion of rhubarb to strawberries and added a little extra sugar to account for that.
Rhubarb Recipes I Want to Try
Rhubarb is one of those plants that’s usually heavily sweetened and used as a fruit, often paired with strawberries for sweetness, in pies, jams, sauces, etc., but is actually not a fruit. (See rhubarbinfo.com for more about rhubarb.) I plan to investigate ways to use rhubarb in main dishes sometime, though. Maybe next spring!
Happy Weekend Cooking!