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Rhubarb is Ready for Post Produce!

inside a rhubarb forest

Rhubarb produces huge elephant-ear leaves on the ends of slender stalks. The plants naturally shade out undergrowth, so a rhubarb patch can do well with little more than occasional feeding. I try to rely on mulch to keep the soil rich, but rhubarb is happy to receive a generous helping of fertilizer in mid-spring.

Rhubarb is in season! In most of my gardening years, this would be the earliest proclamation I’d make about harvest. Last year, instead, I wrote a sad story about three failures of my rhubarb crop.

This year has been spectacularly “normal” climate-wise and the meager rhubarb roots I started last spring have come on so strong that I’m tempted to harvest heavily—a supposed no-no in a rhubarb garden’s second year.

Rhubarb Sauce for Dad

I’ve neglected my garden a tad because I’m spending a lot of time in Ithaca, making repairs in the family house and emptying it to make way for renters. My dad decided to move into a progressive care facility, and there are 52 years’ accumulation in the house with which to deal.

rhubarb sauce

Rhubarb sauce may look a bit slimy, but it doesn’t feel slimy in your mouth (compared, for example, to soup thickened with okra). I like rhubarb sauce on its own, but it makes a great topping as well for cottage cheese, yogurt, and ice cream.

Dad doesn’t complain about his new accommodations, but it was clear right away some things are lacking. Most obviously, the food service at the progressive care facility is mediocre; the food isn’t terrible, but it’s not particularly interesting.

My dad had rhubarb available most of his life. His dad grew it, and descendents from those plants made it to several places my dad lived through the years. We ate rhubarb sauce all spring when I was a kid, and Dad was always excited to serve up the first batch. Dad’s rhubarb patch has died off years ago. So, on my last trip home (to Lewisburg), I harvested my first rhubarb stalks from my new patch. I cooked them into sauce and packed it with me when I drove back to Ithaca. My dad seems pleased to have it.

Making Sauce

I explained how to make rhubarb sauce in an earlier post. If you’ve never tried it, I recommend that you buy stalks or get some from a gardening friend and cook it up for yourself before you plant any. Even people who don’t care for rhubarb sauce can be enthusiastic for strawberry-rhubarb jam or pie. I posted how to make strawberry-rhubarb pie—both written instructions and a video tutorial.

I hope you’ll try rhubarb if you haven’t. I love that on this Post Produce, I can celebrate such a fine harvest.

Now You Post

Use the linky widget at the end of this post to link to your Post Produce blog entry. Then visit other participants’ blogs to see what your fellow gardeners are eating from their own gardens. Thanks for visiting!


4 Responses to “Rhubarb is Ready for Post Produce!”

  • angi:

    I bet your dad was so happy! I’ve never had rhubarb, I’m guessing it doesn’t grow in the the south. Thanks for hosting this link up I found it from Homestead Bloggers facebook page.

  • Daniel Gasteiger:

    angi: Thank you for visiting. Rhubarb is very much a cold climate plant. I’ve heard some people grow it in subtropical areas by planting it in winter, maintaining it into summer, and then digging it up and putting the roots in a freezer for several months before restarting the sequence. Seems like way too much work unless you profoundly love the flavor.

  • Your dad is blessed to have you. I also never had Rhubarb. I will give it a try:)

  • We had to clean out a freezer (why? long story), and I found a huge ziploc bag full of diced, frozen rhubarb. I”m having another bumper crop this year, so I think a batch of rhubarb sauce (stewed rhubarb, which reminds me of applesauce) is on the way.

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