Cricket Song Farm

Cricket Song Farm
To order signed and numbered prints of my original painting please contact me at cricketsongfarm@hotmail.com

Monday, May 14, 2012

RHUBARB

Rhubarb takes everyone back to their childhood.  I have so many people stop by my booth and reminisce about raiding the rhubarb patch with a salt -shaker in hand;  how their mothers made them rhubarb pie and then pulling a face as they remember how tart it tastes.

I  know a little somethin' about rhubarb.  It grows in my unpredictable weather because it is a cool weather crop.  It is sour and comes in two colors red (sour) and green (sourer).   It makes the best pies and jam.  Rhubarb  originated in China, first mentioned in 2700b.c. and came to the U.S. in 1790.  A Maine gardener began selling seeds and by the mid 1800's it had spread all across the Continent.  I got my start from my mother-in-law (the green one---not her the plant) and the red start came from the old 1910 homestead we had in Lund.  Rhubarb was used medicinally for years.  Usually the root is dried and the powder used.  A drink of rhubarb tea is extremely healthful.    Please don't eat the leaves they are poisonous.


Rhubarb can be purchased in the early spring from your garden center.  It comes as a plant or in a bag with roots only.  The best way to get a rhubarb plant is to beg a start  from a neighbor.   Keep moist and transplant immediately.




I am transplanting this plant tonight.  Generally it is better to dig and divide when the buds are just coming through the soil in early spring.  Sometimes farm life doesn't follow my schedule so I am a little late this year.  The leaves are still small enough it will transplant without any trouble.

First dig a big hole where you want the new divided plants to go.  Amend with compost and manure.  Fill the holes with water and let it soak into the ground while you are digging out the plant.

Try to dig out the entire root system at once.  Separate out any roots that are loose.  Remove or cut out any rotten, diseased or dead roots.  Now using a shovel or knife cut the root ball into several good sized pieces.  The plant above, even though it is small should give me 3 or 4 starts.

Transplant immediately.  Rhubarb needs moisture to produce well so mulch heavily with old hay or straw.  Keep well watered.





 Had some rhubarb left from market.  I cannot let anything go to waste so I will be slicing it and putting it in the freezer so I can make jam at a later date.  Just cut into 1/2 pieces and freeze.






The ends should look like this after picking rhubarb.  To harvest stalks do  not break or cut it off, just pull and twist slightly and it comes right up.

Every fall, manure and mulch heavily.  The plant will come up through the mulch in the spring.






               RHUBARB RECIPES

TO DRY:  slice and put in a dehydrator 8-12 hours, or in the sun 1-2 days until hard.  It will loose some of its color. 


 YIELD:  1 lb fresh .=4 cups sliced or 2 cups cooked and pureed.

RHUBARB SAUCE:  we  LOOOOOVE this hot over home-made ice-cream or at least a good French vanilla.
3 cups chopped Rhubarb
1/2 cup sugar or honey
1/4 to 1/2 cup water
Simmer over med heat until Rhubarb is tender.  About 20 mins. Serve HOT.


TOMATO RHUBARB SAUCE
I haven't tried this one but it sounds delicious
3 tbs. butter
2 cups diced tomatoes
4 cups diced rhubarb
1 cup orange juice
4 tbs. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. ground rosemary.  Melt butter and add ingredients.  Simmer until soft.  Serve over chicken, pork or fish.


HOT RHUBARB PUDDING

2 eggs beaten
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup flour
4 cups diced rhubarb
whipped cream-  the real stuff you do by hand!!!!!!
Whisk egg, add sugar, vanilla and flour.  Stir in Rhubarb.  Grease a 1 1/2 quart baking dish.  Pour in mixture.  Bake 40 mins, until the pudding is warm and set.  Serve with REAL whipped cream.


RHUBARB CRISP
this is my favorite crisp, but you can substitute rhubarb for any fruit crisp recipe you like
1 cup flour
3/4 cup oatmeal
1 cup sugar-divided
1/2 cup butter
1 tsp. cinnamon
3 cups diced Rhubarb
2 cups elderberries or black berries--Note- our elderberries are not ripe at the same time so we use reconstituted elderberries or simply add 1 more cup of rhubarb instead of berries
3/4 cups of water
2 tbs. cornstarch
1 tsp. vanilla
In a bowl combine flour, oats (old-fashioned), 1/2 of the sugar and cinnamon.  Cut in butter.  Set aside 1/2 half of this mixture for the topping.  Press remaining crumb mixture into a 9x9 greased baking dish.  Add rhubarb and berries over-top.
In a small sauce pan combine  cornstarch and 1/2 cup sugar.  Gradually stir in 3/4 cup water and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and cook 1-2 mins. or until thickened.  Remove from heat and add vanilla.  Pour sauce over the fruit and sprinkle with reserved crumb mixture.  Bake at 350 degrees for 50-55 mins.  Serve with REAL  whipped cream.


RHUBARB PIE
Use the crumb mixture and the cornstarch sauce (doubled) from the recipe above.--Note- you can substitute cornstarch with quick cooking tapioca granules if desired
4-5 cups chopped rhubarb. Put Rhubarb into a prepared pie crust.  Add sauce  (double the recipe) and top with crumb mixture.  Bake 350 for 50-55 mins.
If you have strawberries add 2 cups sliced to the rhubarb.

My opinion is that Rhubarb should have it's own Holiday!!!!!








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