I was walking outside past my overgrown garden, debating whether to attack the weeds and prepare the soil or to just let it set for another year. It seems my life gets busier and busier as my kids get older and I just wasn’t sure if I could keep up with it during the busy summer months. But among the knee high weeds I saw a sturdy leafy plant and realized the rhubarb I had started from seed a few years ago had survived my haphazard gardening and come back with a vengeance. A plant that can grow without any help from me not only wins my heart but gives me just enough hope to start pulling out weeds and dreaming about a bounty of garden produce by the end of the summer. So the garden is a go for one more year and I’m already looking forward to sun-sweetened tomatoes and fresh green beans.
Although rhubarb is usually paired with fruit it is actually a vegetable. The stalks are the part most commonly used and their look and texture are similar to celery although the stalks have some red on them and they are tart enough to make you pucker. Rhubarb is at its ripest in spring and summer, is low in calories and full of fiber, potassium and vitamin C. You’ll most likely find rhubarb at Farmers Markets, produce stands or neighbors gardens. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s easy to overlook. But if you happen upon some, grab it up and take it home to try one of these delicious recipes. You’ll be glad you did.
Amish Rhubarb Pie (food.com)
(Most of the time I have plenty of rhubarb but no strawberries for strawberry rhubarb pie. This is a great recipe using only rhubarb. You won’t even miss the berries.)
• 1 (9 inch) pie shells (see Favorite Pie Crust recipe.)
• 4 cups rhubarb, sliced 1 inch thick
• 1 cup sugar
• 4 tablespoons all purpose flour
• 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
• 1 teaspoon salt Crumb Topping
• 1 cup all purpose flour
• 1 dash salt
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 1/4 cup butter, softened
Preheat oven to 425º F. Combine the rhubarb, sugar, flour, lemon and salt. Turn into unbaked pie shell. Bake for 30 minutes. Combine topping ingredients; mix with hands until large crumbs form sprinkle crumbs on top. Bake for 15 minutes more or until crumbs are brown and pie is bubbly. Cool on rack.
Rhubarb Iced Tea (Montreal Gazette)
• 4 cups water
• 4 cups diced rhubarb
• 1 lemon, juice of
• 3/4 cup sugar
In a large heavy saucepan combine the water and the rhubarb. Bring to a boil and then let simmer until tender about 20 minutes. Strain, and add the juice of one lemon and the sugar (more or less, to taste). Cool well, and serve over ice in tall glasses.
Rhubarb Pecan Muffins
• 2 cups flour
• 3/4 cup sugar
• 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 3/4 cup chopped pecans
• 1 large egg
• 1/4 cup vegetable oil
• 2 teaspoons orange rind , Grated
• 3/4 cup orange juice
• 1 1/4 cups fresh rhubarb chopped fine
Combine all dry ingredients. Beat egg and oil; add orange juice. Add to flour mix. Add rhubarb. Pour into lined muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake at 350F for 25-30 min.