Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Rhubarb

Just over Half way in the A to Z Challenge and today's letter is "R"

I'm using it for Rhubarb, It is something that I never go a market or sale with out having to talk about. You have to understand that it may be something very common to people in the northern climates but down here if we have heard about it, it was from a northern cousin or neighbor.

It is  a perennial vegetable that can grow in most states, we have it in North Carolina but it's a transplant from Michigan. We are planning on starting some seeds this year too, I have read that should only be done in southern states. The normal propagation would be to split the your existing roots into two or more pieces, depending on the size of the roots. This should be done every 5 years or so. Just make sure that you have a strong bud on each root.

Rhubarb is in the family Polygonacea and grows from a rhizome. It has stalks that will remind you of  a reddish to pink celery and can become as stringy as it's look alike in older large stalks. It starts out green and the pink coloring will develop as the stalk grows. It has a great tart flavor that is often pared with sweet fruits in pies and cakes. But can be used in savory dishes as well. We use it with Apples and Cranberries to make spreads, and with apples and onions to make a savory chutney. Check out these great recipes for something awesome of your own!


Once it has started growing you'll want to wait a year for the first harvest. This helps the plant to set a good root system. In the second and third year also harvest lightly but after that you can harvest up to a third of the stalks on a plant at a time. The season generally runs from April thru June. If you can't grow your own check for them at you local farmer's markets or grocery store. Stalks should be crisp and not floppy or soft.

Use just the stalks for baking and Jams, the leaves contain large amounts of oxalic acid which is poisonous.  Don't throw them away they made a great bug spray!

  • Boil a cup of leaves in 6 cups of water for 20 to 30 minutes
  • Remove from heat and allow the water to cool
  • Strain the mixture and pour in to a spray bottle.
  • Discard the leaves and use your spray that day.
  • Freeze any remaining amount for later use.
Thanks for Stopping by, check back in tomorrow for my S post. It's a great idea for bad soil or small spaces!