Rhubarb doesnt's seem to grow too well here and the plants we brought with us from the UK five years ago are still hardly big enough to give us anything to eat, let alone divide, so I've just started some more off from seed. Don't forget to grow some sweet cicely alongside it too so you can use it to sweeten the rhubarb when you stew it up.
One thing that has really suprised me though is gooseberries. We found a plant for sale and bought it in disbelief, thinking it was totally unsuitable, but it has done ok. Unfortunately we lost half of it in the spring when the donkey took a swipe at it on the way past and managed to bite a huge lump off, and then my other half managed to cut half of the rest off when he was strimming, so the poor thing isn't making much headway. I tried taking cuttings from the bit that he cut off but I doubt they'll take.
Then we progressed to rhubarb crumble - stew up the rhubarb with sugar and/or a bit of sweet cicely, then make up a crumble mix to cover it and bake, serve with custard or I think my mum used to use evaporated milk out of a can. If she was short of time she wouldn't make the crumble but serve the rhubarb and evaporated milk with digestive biscuits which we would use to scoop out big dollops of sloppy rhubarb.
A lower carb version would be rhubarb stewed up with sweet cicely and served with cream.
I also have memories of my mum making rhubarb fool which was incredibly delicious, but I've no idea how to make it...
Argh - I'm getting hungry!!!
When the crowns are divided, it seems they'll grow from anything... I've put them through a hot compost and they're thriving at the other end. If there's a piece of crown and a piece of root, you will get more rhubarb plants.
Older people often grow it and most would be very happy to give you some pups in exchange for dividing their rhubarb!
Just make sure you get a red-stalked variety; the giant green one, while impressive looking, goes khaki when cooked and lacks flavour.
Here's a few rhubarb ideas:
I put the chopped stalks in a roasting pan, sprinkle generously with sugar and cinnamon, zest and juice an orange over it, cover and put in a hot oven until soft but still holding its shape, about 20-30 minutes.
Serve it on breakfast, put it in muffins, as a topping for an upside-down cake...
rhubarb combines really well with other fruit, which tone down its acidity. Apples, plums and berries are my favourites.
When I was a kid, rhubarb had four uses: in a crumble or stewed on muesli, custard or rice pudding. Good, plain ideas imported directly from Mother England!
I live in a temperate climate, ideal for growing rhubarb, so your results may vary...
It was basically a dome built of dry tree branches, in a variety of sizes somewhere between a cloche and a low tunnel. There were enough needles left on the branches to almost completely block the wind, and it seemed like the dappled shade was about 50% of the intensity of un-broken sun.
Such protection would also probably help ramps and similar understory-adapted plants.
minimal version of the recipe.
I have made one so I could write about the quantities you need of fruit and cream. I bought one 200 ml packet of whipping cream and a half kilo of apricots i used three quarters of the cream but the fool was too creamy so I think it would be 200ml for a kilo of fruit that is 100 ml of cream for a pound of fruit, maybe less would have a better taste stewed apricots are so delicious, better than fresh ones even, that they hardly need any cream.
You whip the cream.
Once your puree of fruits is made and your cream whipped you mix the puree and whipped cream together and you are ready to serve it or leave it in the fridge till wanted.
Fools are an old fashioned dish so i consider whipped cream mixed with fruit puree to be the correct recipe and that is how my grandparents saw things but mixing the pureed fruit with custard, made from birds powdered custard is a cheap and modern alternative. Maybe a small pot of cream is not so very expensive now days, so you can make it with cream without breaking the bank for nearly the same price as custard. The flavor is more delicate with cream not custard and the texture better with little air bubbles in the whipped cream.
Sugar is a point i have not mentioned. The best stewed fruit is made with acid types of fruit, rhubarb, plums, red white and black currants, so you will need to add a bit of sugar to the fruit as it cooks if you don’t want the result to be too tart.
Add sugar to taste, to have a puree as sweet as you like it. This means adding a bit, tasting the puree to see what you think and if its still too sour adding a bit more. The cream will make the fruit less acid anyway so it is not as if you were going to eat the puree straight you don’t need too much sugar you are not making marmalade.
More sugar can be added on each persons plate so it is better not to make stewed fruit too sweet and the diners can make it as sweet as they want on their plates. It is nice adding sugar on your plate, that way it is crunchy. More cream can be added on the plate un-whipped cream that will also provide a contrast to the fool.
You fold in the whipped cram cream. Folding in is a gentle way of mixing two ingredients, it is useful if you are mixing a whipped substances like egg whites and whipped cream full of air bubbles into something else because you don't want to lose the bubbles in the cream when you mix it with whatever other substance is in the recipe in this instance the pureed fruit.
After placing you cream on your puree, maybe not all of it at once, you slip the spoon, a wooden one with a wide spoon bit, down the right side of the bowl more or less and nearly along the bottom keeping the spoon aligned with the bowl looking sideway when it goes down the side and upwards when it is going along the bottom but lifting it out at the other side at such an angle that it brings up puree on the spoon and then twisting the spoon over so the puree gets laid on top of the cream, the puree is folded over the cream and then you repeat the movement till all the cream is folded in. It is the sort of movement you learn better from watching it, it is hard to explain.
I am writing for some fifteen year old with no experience of cooking say, not for your experienced permaculture cook. The truth is they don't stew fruit in Spain so I feel as if its necessary to go into details.
Paul Wheaton could do a video of someone folding in egg whites for a cake or whipped cream for a fool..
I could too but I have not got it together to hang up videos on you tube. Agri rose macaskie.
How do you stew fruit? rhubarb and such-
Fruit apart from containing vitamin c has often contains a lot of b vitamins as does meat and also minerals and other vitamins and a lot of minerals so a second course of fruit and rice pudding or custard must a nutritious addition to the diet of children and adults. Apparently our hamburger diets are lacking in minerals.
It surprises me that no big companies commercialize frozen stewed fruit, it freezes very well and can be used in pies and as fools and mousses and soufflés and eaten straight accompanied with rice puddings and custards. Stewed fruits freeze very well.
You have to be careful to put in very little water when you stew fruit, most fruits let off a lot of liquid and so unless you put in very little water the fruit comes out watery. If you don't put in any water then the fruit will burn.
You put a little sugar in to take the worst of the acidity off the fruit but you can also add sugar to stewed fruit on each persons pudding plate so you don’t need to put in too much sugar when you cook them.
I have just cooked apricots in a inch a bit less of water, as they cook the liquid grows in volume as it comes out of the fruit until it nearly covers them. There was still too much liquid for the puree I wanted to make though I cooked the apricots for a while to evaporate off the liquid, If you cook them in the oven they are more likely to come out drier.
Apples need to be cooked in lots more water than most other fruit need, they absorb water and for this reason, i suppose, are good if you have diarrhea or vomiting, peeled and grated apple raw serves to help people with mild stomach problems. I find it works very well for these it has cured all my children’s mild stomach problems, vomiting and diarrheas. Of course it would not do for bad problems, with bad problems you need to visit the doctor.
I cooked the apricots in a pan but you can cook fruit in the oven I suppose.
I usually try not to leave fruit in a metal pan once cooked incase the acid in the fruit melts the metal a bit and this gives an unpleasant taste to the fruit. The same goes for beans and lentils and such, my Elizabeth David cooking book says the water you cook beans in is so strong you can bottle the water you pour off after the first twenty minutes of cooking, something you can do to reduce the strengths and the evil effects of a bean stew putting in fresh water for the rest of the cooking time. She says you can bottle the water you pour of f them after twenty minutes and use it to clean stubborn stains off clothes, so the water of pulses is very strong and if you don’t want your stew to taste of a metal cooking pot you had better move it into a bowl when cooked or even cook it in an earthenware pot.
You wash the fruit and put it into the pan putting smaller fruit in whole normally. You might cut the fruit in half. You cook the fruit with their stones, pips and such, whether you cut the fruit open or not. The stones and pips of fruit give off pectin which is like a fruit gelatin and is part of what makes jam gel. Pectin is good for your stomach, intestines, I can’t remember exactly which.
If you are going to eat the fruit as stewed fruit, with rice pudding say as an accompaniment, you put the whole fruit in your mouth and then spit out the stones on to your spoon and pass them onto your plate. If you are too refined for this I suppose you should take out the stones before serving the fruit. If the fruit is in a pastry case you don’t include the stones.
If you are going to make your fruit into a puree you will want to take the stones out after the fruit is stewed and before it is pureed, the stones might break the machine that purees them. If you pass it through a sieve you leave the stones in, they won’t go through the sieve. I cook apples without peeling coring them and then I put them through the moulee, the pips get left behind, the apple puree comes out well. I saw a French cook do this on the television and since then have done it myself.
You can strain the juice that comes out of fruit and add gelatin to make natural jellies, they are much nicer than packet jellies, my mother used to make them one year after reading some book or other and deciding to collect jelly molds. In Victorian times they used to decorate jelly with gold leaf.
Stewed fruit is a way of eating fruit before its absolutely ripe because tart fruits taste better stewed than mild fruit that would come out tasteless. Cooking slightly unripe fruit is especially so with apricots, plums skins, make them tart when cooked even if they are ripe, rhubarb, and currants are tart anyway especially black currants and rhubarb, so are gooseberries, peaches like apples can come out a bit bland.
Red fruits make some fabulous colored puddings.
Cooked eating apples come out very bland unless you put in lots of apples and cook them for a long time to reduce their juice because it evaporates off.
Traditionally you eat stewed fruit with bland things baked custard, rice pudding, pastry, in France with brioche a slightly sweet and eggy bread which is good with stewed fruit. Bland things go well with tart ones like fruit. Traditionally you pour cream all over stewed fruit, and even do the same when you serve it with custard and rice pudding, to make the desert a bit less digestible and more fattening or you could say a bit creamier or richer. It is also usual to sprinkle sugar over stewed fruit which gives the fruit a interesting crunchiness.
You have to remember to eat less first course if you are going to eat pudding. If you have lots of fruit trees it maybe a cheaper way to feed your family than totally depending on the first course. Miik puddings can't be too expensive as a food source either.
Stewed fruit are easy to freeze but i forget to unfreeze them and eat them.
Agri rose macaskie.
I use it for strawberry rhubarb jam. I just keep picking it through the spring, slice it up and put it in the freezer till the berries are ready.
I pick off the flower stalks when it starts to bolt.
my MIL made the best rhubarb dessert out of rhubarb cooked in a couple cups of water, a couple tablespoons of tapioca while cooking and then sweetened with a package of JELLO while hot..she used strawberry flavor but probably any flavor would work..i know bad word..but you can use gelatin and real strawberries as well i'm sure..
also the amish make a killer rhubarb/custard pie, but i don't know the recipe...you just cook the rhubarb and put it in with the custard and bake the pie..probably all sweetened somehow.
rhubarb can also just be steweed, and sweetened and served with cream or whatever..it gets soft and mushy as it cooks..and can be mixed with any berry or fruit basically that is avail.
if you cut it in 1" or shorter pieces then the strings are short enough to not be a bother..
Jello, jello, jello...try the store brand of jello, it's usually just as good! Or make your own jello from scratch. And un-flavored jello is an extremely good wood glue: once bowyers tested it along with all sorts of other adhesives, and found that it outperformed everything except one brand of high-priced specialty epoxy; there was basically a tie for first place in terms of strength and toughness.
Also, great recipe ideas. My parents have an old Pennsylvania Dutch baking book, maybe I'll look up that pie recipe some time.
Someone mentioned that it likes shade but I wasn't sure what area they were from. I did some research before planting and planted in full sun, so now I'm doubting the location.
If planted at the edge of a bed, will it help suppress grass from encroaching? I'm guessing it would shade out many weeds due to it's size and early growth. If I were trying to suppress grass and weeds, does it die back early enough in the season that it would allow unwanted plant growth?
I was given a bunch of seeds that I have not planted yet. I tested germination and it was pretty high. Though, I know they will not come true to the parent plant, how awful would these babies be? Is the flavor impacted as much as the color?
Other than eating and a chop and drop mulch, does rhubarb have any other uses? Animal feed, or maybe fiber since it's stringy? Would red stalks produce a red dye?
Has anyone ever dried and powdered rhubarb?
Growing comfrey with rhubarb could work for you. Comfrey makes great stock feed, whereas rhubarb leaves are toxic. They're both great in the compost.
I don't imagine rhubarb's much good for dyeing or drying: it's a pretty watery red at best, and the astringent kick would overpower anything you added it to.
If you're growing from seed, be brutal and get rid anything funny looking or tasting.
gave more to family and they planted them as well.
rhubarb is pretty doggone hardy and easy to move and transplant...and makes a really great mulch
There is an old log cabin about 5 miles from where I live. Has been vacant for nearly 50 years. Has a lovely rhubarb plant growing next to it. I'm going to speak with the owners and see if I can take some starts when it is dormant.
So you get the full picture of my seed planting skills, i have to tell you how bad they are. They take the form is of me chucking seeds onto what is nearly a lawn, not as tight knit a hay feild and wondering why they wont come up. I was already that way inclined and then I saw sepp holzer chucking seeds around but i suppose, thinking about it properly, he chucks them on to land he put the pigs onto before, that has been pig ploughed. I have also tried chucking seeds on to the two baby, by which i mean little, hugglekulture beds i made, also with little sucess. rose macaskie.
rose macaskie wrote:
i am quite depressed today maybe this topic will pull my mind into a livlier mind set.
Rose I hate to hear you are unhappy and I hope you are cheered now.
I have a large rhubarb plant I bought from the home center but it is not the bright red I would like. I think if I go back to old neighborhood I may be able to get a start of the bright red.
I have started some from seed and it did start well, but it was way too hot in Alabama for it and it died. I plan to start some more here and try for the bright red stalkes I love. I had thought that by buying a start it would be top quality, but not so sure now.
Like everything else here it is in a pot. Anyone have ideas about what it would like to grow with?
I guess if someone were to look up pot plant they would find me, ha. I was in Colorado not too long ago and medical marijuana is legal there and it seems a handy plant to me. I got quite an education on it while I was there.
Caitlin Elder wrote:
While we are on the topic of rhubarb does anyone have any good recipes for it. My neighbor has a plant that she was just going to mow over, so I snagged all the rhubarb that I could and froze it. Can I dehydrate it?
My sister makes pie with rhubarb and apples, just substitute half the apples with chopped rhubarb, add a little extra sugar and a spoon full of flour to sweeten and absorb extra moisture.
I have friends that make rhubarb wine, they often freeze it till they get around to making the wine.
Also works good in Zucchini bread.
I've never seen dehydrated rhubarb, my thoughts are that it would become really stringy, and no fun to eat.
I am wonderinfg if rubarb will grow in spain, i should think its too hot and dry for it unless you are there to look after it all the time. agri rose macaskie.
rose macaskie wrote:
I have googled cynide in fruit and found that it is in bamboo shoots and so you have to cook them well, so getting rid of the cynide in things does seem to be a question of cooking.
I am wonderinfg if rubarb will grow in spain, i should think its too hot and dry for it unless you are there to look after it all the time. agri rose macaskie.
We are hot and dry here from may to october - I use drip irrigation and they are planted under fig trees for partial shade.
I might give that a try..hubby doesn't like sour foods though
another thing I read recently is to grow sweet cicely near your rhubarb and cook the two together, and that the sweet cicely will sweeten the rhubarb..
It looks like i will have to look up sweet ciciley I dont know what it is.
Jennifer Smith wrote:
Ok so what would you grow with rhubarb? I am hunting just the right spot to plant the rhubarb seeds and would like to multi use the bed. Any suggestions?
Bumping this question....I'm curious as well. rhubarb okay around fruit trees? okay around other perennials like strawberries and artichokes? i guess i'll let you know in a year because thats what i just did
It's great under fruit trees, but jovialgent, rhubarb can get 5+ feet across over a few years, before it needs dividing, so it's pretty hard to combine them with smaller, less exuberant plants.