Rhubarb is one of the few perennial vegetables that will grow in Utah and it is one of the first things we can harvest in the spring! Technically, it is a vegetable, but we often think of it as a fruit because it is used in sweet things like jams and desserts. On it's own, rhubarb is extremely sour - like eating lemons! However, like lemons, with the addition of sugar, it becomes delicious.
Rhubarb has been grown in China for thousands of years. Eventually, it made it's way to Europe and then to the United States. It grows very well in Utah! There are several varieties of rhubarb available and the color of the stalks varies from green to pink to deep red. Spring is the time to plant rhubarb and it can be found at your local garden center. Now is also the time to divide rhubarb if you already have some growing in your garden. Rhubarb plants need 2 or 3 years to become established before you harvest any stalks from them.
Rhubarb needs a little compost added around it's base every year and regular deep watering during the hot times of summer. Harvest rhubarb during the spring and early summer. It can be enjoyed in baked goods, desserts, jams and dessert sauces. It can be preserved by freezing or canning.
*The celery-like stalks are the only edible part of the rhubarb plant. The leaves and roots are highly toxic.
Here is a link for more info on growing rhubarb.
Here is my favorite rhubarb recipe:
Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble
serves 3 or 4
2 cups strawberries, halved or quartered
1.5 cups rhubarb, chopped into 1/2 inch slices
4 T sugar
4 t flour
1 generous pinch of cinnamon
1 pinch of salt
6 T flour
4 T sugar
1 pinch of salt
4 T butter, cold and diced
1/4 cup (or a little more) chopped walnuts
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly butter a small casserole dish or an 8 x 8 pan.
- Make the filling: place fruit, sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt into a bowl and toss to mix well. Put mixture into the baking dish.
- Make the topping: Place flour, sugar, walnuts and salt into a bowl and mix well. Add butter pieces and toss to coat the butter with flour mixture. Rub the mixture with your fingertips until you have course crumbs. Most of the loose flour is incorporated and the mixture looks pale yellow. Spoon evenly over the top of the filling.
- Bake until topping is pale gold and fruit filling is bubbling, 30 - 35 minutes. Remove dish from oven and cool on a rack for 10 or 15 minutes. Serve warm or at room temp with vanilla ice cream.
- Yum Yum!!