This blog reports events and interesting tidbits from Rensselaer, Indiana and the surrounding area.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Rhubarb

Today the farmer's market begins its 2009 season. It will be interesting to see what will be available this early. One thing that should be there is rhubarb. This native of Asia is sometimes called pie plant because that is one of its most common uses. It really cannot be eaten raw--it is too sour.
The leaves begin to grow early in the spring, and on larger plants a seed pod will also form. If you are serious about using rhubarb, you should remove these seed pods as soon as you can. If allowed to grow, the plant will pour its resources into producing seed instead of producing nice succulent stems.Did you know that rhubarb leaves are poisonous? They contain oxalic acid, among other things. However, the oxalic acid does not stop Japanese beetles from eating the leaves.
On Thursday I decided the stalks on my rhubarb were big enough to harvest. It is exciting to get something so early from the garden. I used to have asparagus, which is also early, but a former neighbor killed most of it when she was trying to kill the dandelions in her lawn.I could have made pie, but that is too much work. I know of a much easier recipe on a great website called Dessert Survivor.And here is the finished result.
It needed a bit more sugar. Maybe next time I will get it right.

My mother used to make rhubarb upside-down cake that was very good. What do you make with rhubarb?

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