Sunday, July 20, 2008

Dirty Tales from the Garden VI


People either love it or hate it.

And those that love it are either purists or want it combined with something else -usually strawberries.

I did not grow up eating rhubarb. I knew what it was - I think - and that my mother did not like it, so we did not grow it or eat it. I am not sure if my Dad likes it or not, or any of my siblings.

My first real exposure to it came in my mother-in-law's rhubarb custard pie - homemade pie, pure rhubarb. See -she's a purist, as is my father-in-law, and my Hubby. Brother-in-law on the other hand has to have the strawberries.

When our friend M lost his house and gave us his garden, that included his patch of rhubarb. Hubby was ecstatic. We had just put in a small "raised bed" for seasonal produce, and before you could say "boo" it became home to four nice crowns of rhubarb.

Sitting it out the first year after they had been transplanted was torture for Hubby, but that was what we had read was recommended, and he eagerly eagerly awaited the harvest the 2nd year.

We've cooked with our rhubarb exactly once - hubby made a rhubarb crisp I think - the rest of it gets carried to his parents as often as possible - usually resulting in a weekly, fresh out of the oven, rhubarb custard pie. Every time MIL comes to the house she checks to see how it is growing - and BIL was positively drooling over the bed when he was here July 4th (I did let him take some home - even though he was mixing it with strawberries)

The Munchkin has yet to try it - but I wonder if he will be a purist like Hubby, or take after my mom?

A few crowns got divided this year - I was careful to leave enough alone to be able to harvest next spring AND give the new stuff a year off. One entire 4x4 square of my new vegetable garden has been committed evermore to the cultivation of rhubarb. See - I am not the rhubarb preparer - but I am the rhubarb tender - and that makes me very special in this rhubarb loving family.

Any good rhubarb recipes out there? Maybe I should learn to cook this stuff, too???


Michelle said...

Oh, rhubarb! I love it! I don't have any, nor do I cook with it, but I am in heaven when I have a chance to eat a piece of rhubarb pie, or strawberry rhubarb pie, or rhubarb crisp!

My memories of rhubarb are, while spending the weekends with my dad, going down to the rhubarb patch down by the outhouse with a paper cup full of powdered sugar, breaking off a couple stalks, then 'dipping' the rhubarb into the powdered sugar. Puckering came next while biting off a piece and making memories.

Today, I prefer it cooked, but as a kid, it was one of the best treats a kid could have. Wiping the dirt off of it with our clothing was all the washing it required.


Thanks for that one, Regina!

Anonymous said...

Jim and I love rhubarb, in fact his birthday "cake" each year has been a rhubarb custard pie. No strawberries to mask that wonderful rhubarb tartness, we're rhubarb purists.

I remember going next door to Mrs. Randazzo's while visiting Nana and eating fresh rhubarb from her garden. OOOH, what puckering goodness! Sorry I don't have any recipes to share other than for rhubarb custard pie and it looks like you have that covered.


Anjeanette said...

Ugh! I hate your posts about your garden. Hate them. I am so jealous and it makes me want to come to your house and eat your stuff fresh from your garden. So there! I've never tried rhubarb but have always wanted to. Now that I have the perfect pie crust recipe...I may have to seek out some rhubarb. Some day I will have a garden. Then I will call you and ask for pointers;) And you can come eat from my fresh garden.


Julie H said...

I've never eaten rhubarb.

Fabricmom said...

I've never had Rhubarb. My husband wants me to get some so that he can eat it like celery. It doesn't sound very appealing. But I can't find it here. Go figure right. O'well. So sorry hubby. LOL.

Higgins Design Studio said...

I have had Strawberry Rhubarb Pie before at someone's house, but don't really remember much about whether I have had it 'straight-up' or not.
Mom says that she has never had Rhubarb. She always says she doesn't like it so she won't eat it and find out it is something else she likes to eat. She's afraid she'll like it too much.
Love you sis!

Anonymous said...

Hi Regina,

This is tayzzmom from Lazy Girl Designs (I'm a diehard lurker). I have a 'recipe' for Rhubarb. My mom was a Rhubarb purist from Arkansas and the only thing she made from Rhubarb was preserves,and they sure tasted good on buttered toast! All you do is mix equal parts Rhubarb and sugar in a saucepan. Cook very slowly over low heat until the sugar melts and the Rhubarb is tender. It will thicken as it cools. I love it, but can't eat it any more since I'm a diabetic. I hope you can try it. I bet hubby would like it! 8-) Linda