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The Barb is On

Rhubarb: how we love thee. You are full of the zing of spring, yet you are humble and hearty.

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And how underestimated you have been in years past!

From early childhood, my mother always made rhubarb sauce (recipe herein), pie, crisps and cobblers and froze the sauce of whatever was left over for winter delights.

Farmer’s Markets often have an abundance of rhubarb, and likely your neighbor does too.  Harvesting rhubarb is easy for kids ~ and produces tasty treats they love.

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I’ve often heard folks describe rhubarb as a weed or make comments like, ‘what would I do with it?’ to which I respond, “I’d be happy to take that off your hands so it’s not in your way.”  I’ll never say no to free barb.

Rhubarb sauce over yogurt was a staple growing up as it is in our home now. We regularly harvest, and make sauces for breakfast dishes, lunches and snacks. If the seed stalk is kept cut back, and you trim your barb as it ripens, you can keep a plant producing all summer long.

Kid Friendly Harvest & Recipe

My son now enjoys working the entire process, garden to table.  He harvests, washes, cuts and cooks the sauce, all himself. (Well, I did the taste testing for sugar ratio, otherwise it would have come out fairly sucre heavy:).

This is a wonderful recipe to use as a tool to get your kids into gardening and cooking. The resulting food is something kids love ~ a sweet and tangy sauce that goes well over yogurt, ice cream or, my favorite, breakfast waffles and pancakes.

Rhubarb Sauce

Fresh Rhubarb

Sugar

Water

~ Chop washed rhubarb into 1 inch chunks and fill a quart sauce pot. Add enough water to cover the bottom with at least 2 inches.

~ Bring to a simmer on medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Once the fruit starts to break down, reduce heat to low.

~ Add sugar and stir occasionally; once the sauce is simmering again, it’s just about done. You may add your sugar to taste, but for a quart pot full of fruit, I generally use about 4 cups sugar.

~ Eat fresh on yogurt, waffles, over ice cream, or jar in Masons and freeze.

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NOTES on Rhubarb

~For planting, try finding an existing plant to cut from.  The root of the barb is like one solid mass.  You can cut right through it to divide the plant. Don’t worry about damage, this root is hard to kill.  It will grow almost anywhere.

~Water rhubarb liberally. I made the mistake years ago of thinking the wild plant on the side of the house didn’t need tending. Not so ~ the barb takes a lot of water in spring and through the summer if you want a hearty, deep red stalk and to harvest repeatedly.

~ Save it for later!  If you don’t want to make sauce out of all your barb, wash it, cut it in one inch chunks and bag in the freezer.  It is just as good taken out months later for pies, sauce, chutney or crisps.

~ Locally here in the Methow Valley, purchasing rhubarb plants is possible at the Local 98856.  They also have great advice on the additional recipes and growing the plant.

Love from Georgina @ Soul & Stomach 

Filed under: breakfast, side dishes

About the Author

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I am a writer, editor and community outreach coordinator in the beautiful Methow Valley of the North Cascade Mountains. My published work is found online and in newspapers and magazines in a wide spectrum of journalism. Writing is what I must do according to God's call, yet my earthly passions remain in loving my children, gardening up the earth and cooking fine foods from my heritage. ~publication references available upon request~

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