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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Rhubarb

Rhubarb is just breaking the ground in my garden so I thought it would be a good time to make a few entries on this fruit. This is one of the easiest and almost trouble free fruits to grow. I think it lives on abuse! The more you pick, the bigger the patch will get. Our family enjoys rhubarb several ways. I have to be sure to pick quickly when the kids are around as they will break of a stem and eat it as is.

On that note, rhubarb leaves contain about 0.5% oxalic acid and should not be consumed raw or cooked. The only part of the plant that should be consumed is the stem. Young children should be closely supervised in the garden to prevent accidental poisoning. Rhubarb leaves are toxic to domestic and farm animals so do not feed them to goats or pigs.

Fresh Rhubarb

Rhubarb is best picked after the dew is off the leaves. As always when harvesting any fruit or vegetable from your garden, do a clean pick. Remove any damaged fruit or vegetable at the same time. Both these methods will help to prevent unwanted pests and disease.

I don't like letting rhubarb stems get too thick. A stem diameter just a little bigger than my thumb is perfect but I will often cut smaller ones if I need to make up enough for whatever I'm making. I remove the leaves as I cut each stem. Once washed, the lower cut end of the stem can be placed in cold water to keep fresh until you are ready to use them. However, rhubarb is best canned shortly after picking.

Canned Rhubarb

Rhubarb can be canned or frozen and I do both. Canned rhubarb is a nice convenience food because it is right ready to use as is or made into sauce. It is an ideal ice cream topper. Rhubarb can be canned as a sauce or in chunks.

These are my last two jars of canned rhubarb from 2006. They won't last long so I am happy to see the rhubarb breaking ground.

Canning Rhubarb

2 pounds rhubarb per quart
1/2 - 1 c organic granulated sugar per quart

Wash the stalks and cut into 1 inch pieces. Place in large bowl. Stir in the sugar to coat the pieces and let stand 4 hours in the refrigerator. Place the mixture into a large saucepot. Slowly bring to a boil. Boil 30 seconds. Pack the hot rhubarb and syrups into hot jars leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Remove the air bubbles, adjust the caps. Process 15 minutes in a boiling water bath canner for either quarts or pints.


3 food lovers commented:

Susan said...

rhubarb pudding cake
make a half-cake mix. make a soupy rhubarb sauce. put the cake mix in 9 x 13 pan and put hot sauce over. bake............serve with cream, whipped or straight out of the container.

Garden Gnome said...

Thanks for the recipe Susan!

JeanC said...

I've some rhubarb in my garden I took pity on and planted. I don't eat eat, but everyone keeps telling me there are great recipes using it, I just may have to give it a try this year. I usually just let it grow becasue it is SUCH a gorgeous plant and is quite spectacular.