Sunday, May 22, 2011

First Crop of the Season

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.


I used a very special knife to do this that used to belong to my grandmother. Her father gave it to her when she got married. It eventually became her garden knife, and she always used it for the rhubarb. It is one of my most prized possessions, and I was so happy to be able to use it on my own home-grown with love rhubarb.

So what did I do with my harvest? Muffins!!


I found this recipe online, at www.rhubarbinfo.com. They turned out really yummy and moist. I used oil, not margarine. And I divided the batter into 24 muffins instead of 12 and baked for just about 20 minutes. I like smaller muffins so that Little Boo will finish one. We big kids can always have two if we want. Oh. And I used my Pampered Chef Food Chopper to chop the rhubarb - makes it really quick and easy to get to the finely chopped stage.




Rhubarb Muffins

Ingredients:


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

Procedure:

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.
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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.

2 comments:

  1. Mmm...rhubard mufffins. Yummy!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yum! I have some garlic and spinach just barely growing at this point - I've never thought of rhubarb, I remember it in our garden when I was little too :) Does it grow in the cooler fall months too?

    ReplyDelete

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