Saturday, June 11, 2011


We had a small patch of rhubarb in the raspberry patch when we moved in, and a big patch just behind the house.  The big patch was too close to the weeping tiles, got trampled repeatedly when we moved the horses across the yard, and way too close to where we planned to put the wood shed.

The first summer I split a chunk off and moved it to the garden.  It's still alive, but hasn't done well in the dry sandy soil.  The second year I split some more off and moved it to the front yard - the flower bed.  It did better than the garden patch, but it still seemed too dry.  Last year I took out the rest before #2 built the wood shed.  I moved it into the trees behind the garage - the beginning of the forest garden.  It takes longer for the frost to leave the ground in the woods, so early in the spring when I would normally see the first shoots of rhubarb there was nothing.  I am happy to say that it did survive, and is taking to it's new home beautifully now.
 And maybe it"s our wonky cold/hot/cold/hot weather this year, but the earlier transplants are all starting to kick it into high gear this year as well.  I probably won't cut much off of any of them this year, I want them to be well established.  But next year, oh boy, I will feast indeed!

Rhubarb is a wonderful perennial weed.  It's cold hardy, easy to grow, and prolific.  Buy a little stalk (or ask a neighbour for a chunk of root), dig a little hole, and ignore it.  What could be simpler?  If your new to gardening or self sufficiency, rhubarb has got to be one of the easiest places to start.

When I was a little girl, Granny would serve as fresh, raw rhubarb with a bowl of sugar for dipping.  Probably not one of the healthiest snacks we could have had, but every spring as I bite into that first sour stalk, it brings back fond memories.

My favourite rhubarb recipe is rhubarb bread.  It's a winter staple around here.  A great, nutritious, quick and easy breakfast.  Raspberry rhubarb pie disappears quick, and rhubarb sauce makes a great dessert.

Freezing rhubarb is practically effortless.  Wash, chop, bag, seal, freeze.  It tends to fall apart as it defrosts, which actually makes it easier to work with later.

Rhubarb Sauce
  • 1 cup mushy rhubarb (from freezer, or cooked)
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups of flour

Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).  Mix butter, eggs and rhubarb in mixing bowl. Add sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt and mix in. Add the flour, mix. Pour mixture into a buttered 4x8 inch loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour. Cool on a rack. Remove from pan and slice to serve.

 This recipe can easily be tripled, and freezes nicely.

Raspberry Rhubarb Pie

I mix a jar of raspberry sauce with about 2 cups of diced rhubarb into an unbaked pie shell.  Cover with another pie shell, and vent.  Bake at 425°F for 15 minutes.  Reduce to 350°F, continue baking for 40 minutes or until golden brown.  

Rhubarb Sauce

Wash and dice 2 cups of rhubarb.  Cook in a sauce pan with a bit of water, squirt of molasses, and 1/2 cup sugar.


  1. For four days I have been looking for rhubarb. No one knows if I am looking to early or if I have missed it. I planted some rhubarb once. Two days later it was impossible to tell if it had been there. A rabbit nibbled it off right at ground level. I gave up. I love rhubarb pie! But,I will keep the recipe because I love breads, too.

  2. Rhubarb leaves are poisonous, and the stalks are too sour for critters to find appealing. I think you might be at the end of the growing season in Alabama. Try asking around at the farmer's market and garden centres.

  3. Then, I wonder what happened to my rhubarb plants?

  4. My guess would be a bad root- damaged when divided, diseased maybe- not buried deep enough or lack of water. They need a lot of water.

    We have all sorts of wild life here- rabbits, skunks, coons, etc.- none of them touch the rhubarb. The dogs will roll on it, and the horses will trample it, but the wild life leaves it alone.