Tag Archives: rhubarb

More Homemade Jam Deliciousness

I seriously have the bug. And “We be jammin'” is my new theme song. Or at least the part of the song that keeps running through my head and won’t come out.

Strawberry JamMy first ever jam (I’m still ridiculously pleased with myself) was strawberry rhubarb made with Certo Light so I could use less sugar than a typical recipe calls for. Call me crazy but I prefer to taste the fruit, not just the sugar. That batch was still quite sweet, so clearly I’d have to try again.

After the first batch of jam I used some of the rhubarb I’d gathered from a neighbours yard to make a rhubarb concentrate (a.k.a. a rhubarb ribena, ergo christened rhubina). Don’t worry, I asked the neighbour first, about taking the rhubarb. Turns out she and her husband hate rhubarb so she told me to take as much as I wanted. Oh yeah, baby! Continue reading

Bugs on Rhubarb

Over the course of the summer I’ve noticed bugs on my rhubarb plant. At least I think they’re bugs. They look a lot like ball bearings, seem to do no damage (at least to the rhubarb leaves, which are poisonous), and typically collect near the base of the leaf where it meets the stalk.

Upon closer inspection they are either ball bearings with tiny legs, or not ball bearings at all.

Do you have any idea what they are?

Delicious, Healthy Eating All Summer Long

Not all of my gardening this year has been riddled with blunders and mystery. In fact, I’m rather proud of how much food I’ve cultivated in the garden as a novice gardener.

Below is some of the bountiful harvest I have been enjoying all summer, often in a quick and healthy stirfry.*

Yellow bush beans, green pole beans and snow peas

Tomatoes, green and yellow wax beans and broccoli

Carrots, rhubarb, mint and parsley

A tiny fraction of the beet greens I've harvested this year

Three of my largest heads of garlic, approx. 3" diameter

Carrots still in the ground, yet to be savoured

A full head of broccoli is a beautiful sight to behold

The rhubarb patch after the first harvest -- can you see a difference?!

*Note: All it takes to make a delicious stirfry is a little (or more) organic butter or cold pressed olive oil (both are optimal sources of the good fat you need in your diet), a bit of this and that — whatever you have on hand from the garden. Add a dash of salt and a squeeze of citrus and you have a quick, healthy dinner.

Verdict in two words: Yum. Yum.

Rhubarb Crisp or Crumble?

I had a spirited discussion last night about which exactly is the best way to cook a rhubarb crumble — and just what is the difference between a crisp and a crumble.

We also dropped a gauntlet re: whose recipe is better.

A crisp and a crumble, it turns out, are the same thing but which term you use depends on whether you favour the American or UK terminology. True to my Canadian roots, I favour the latter. (Also note the spelling of “favour”, people).

Below is my current favourite recipe for rhubarb crumble. I like to increase the amount of fruit or decrease the amount of sugar, or even a little of both, for a slightly more tart flavour.

I also demand that only real ice cream be used in the dolloping of this dessert. Anything else, like “frozen dessert” or “whipped topping”  is likely a petroleum byproduct and not real food (check your labels, people!).

Rhubarb Crumble

  • 1 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup quick cooking rolled oats
  • ½ cup melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 4 cups sliced rhubarb
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

[Note: you can use slightly more fruit and/or a little less sugar with equally good results]

In mixing bowl, combine brown sugar, flour, oats, butter and cinnamon; mix together until crumbly. Press half of the brown sugar and oats mixture into a buttered 8-inch square baking dish. Top with the sliced rhubarb.
In a saucepan combine 1 cup granulated sugar, cornstarch, and the 1 cup of water and vanilla. Cook together until clear, then pour over rhubarb.

Top rhubarb with remaining crumb mixture and bake at 350° for 45 to 55 minutes. Serve with vanilla ice cream. [Note: I usually cook it ahead, then heat it up when company’s on it’s way. It caramelizes the sugar nicely and makes it slightly gooey.]

Bon appetit!

Related post: Rhubarb: Fruit or Vegetable?

Rhubarb: Fruit or Vegetable?

I made 2 pans of rhubarb crumble last night with a fraction of the rhubarb I have growing in my garden plot. I thought it took a year or two for rhubarb to really take hold, but I grew this plant from seed last year and even transplanted it a few months into the summer due to a gardening relocation.

For a while earlier this summer it was looking pretty limp and none of the stalks were any more than about 6″ long. I asked my mom,  a long time gardener, if that was because it takes a couple of years for the plant to really take root, but she didn’t know. Well, turns out as soon as I stepped up the amount of water it got, the plant took off like blazes. I harvested 10 cups worth of diced rhubarb earlier this week and that only marginally thinned out the plant.

Note: Rhubarb leaves are poisonous. Keep the kids away and don’t put them (the rhubarb leaves nor the children) in the compost bin.

I took one rhubarb crumble over to a friend’s to share with her and her family. Her daughter’s friend from California had never heard of rhubarb and was leery of trying it, even though it was dessert. We described it — something like celery but very tart — but when asked whether it was a fruit or a vegetable we were stumped.

I got an email this morning with the answer:

“It was nice catching up with you last night Liz. I looked up rhubarb on Wikipedia. Here is what it says:

Rhubarb is a group of plants that belong to the genus Rheum in the family Polygonaceae.

They are herbaceous perennial plants growing from short, thick rhizomes. They have large leaves that are somewhat triangular shaped with long fleshy petioles. They have small flowers grouped in large compound leafy greenish-white to rose-redinflorescences.

Although the leaves are toxic, various parts of the plants have medicinal uses. Fresh raw stalks are crisp (similar to celery) with a strong tart taste; most commonly the plant’s stalks are cooked and used in pies and other foods for their tart flavour. A number of varieties have been domesticated for human consumption, most of which are recognised as Rheum x hybridum by the Royal Horticultural Society.

Rhubarb is botanically classified as a vegetable; however, in the United States a New York court decided in 1947 that since it was used in the United States as a fruit it was to be counted as a fruit for the purposes of regulations and duties. A side effect was a reduction in taxes paid.

Thank heavens for Wikipedia, to answer all of life’s burning questions.

Garden Transition

When I planted what has turned out to be my transitional garden earlier this year, in addition to the many vegetables, I also planted a variety of flowers to attract bees and other pollinator types.

Transplants 2Now that I have a more local plot, I decided to move some of them into the city to brighten up my new garden. In addition to half a dozen, bug-repellent marigolds interspersed among the brassicas, I transferred a few snap dragons, and a couple of fuschias.

I also brought along 3 sweet pepper plants that have not done well in the big garden’s climate, a clump of rhubarb, a lemon thyme perennial, and a giant pot containing 2 tomato plants.

We’re in the midst of a heatwave, and the rhubarb is decidedly unhappy, having made it’s displeasure known immediately. I’ll give it a few more days to see if it rallies, but it’s not looking good. The clump of pink snap dragons were looking a bit wilty, but haven’t given up just yet. As for the rest of them, they all look pretty happy to be in their new home.