Rhubarb, some of the best stuff on earth

Summer is here! I ❤ summer. It’s the time when I can come home from work and hang out in my backyard until bedtime. And it’s also the time when my grocery bills go down substantially because I can get most of what I need right out of my backyard garden. When I was house hunting, I wanted to make sure I had a huge backyard (for city standards), so I could grow lots of stuff and let my green thumb shine. Last year, I had produce coming out of my ears, yet this year I decided to expand my garden capacity and grow even more stuff. I wanted to be able to try growing new veggies which might spark some new creative recipes, with the overall goal of eating some of it myself, but giving lots away to friends and family. Be prepared, people. A storm is coming, seriously.

While I enjoy the winter time, it was definitely nice to be able to see the green start to emerge a little earlier this year. My asparagus plant didn’t survive the winter, but everything else did. The raspberries have spread even more to the point that I had to pull out a ton by the roots to prevent them from getting overly crazy and in the personal space of all my other plants. They even put up a fight and thorned me several times as I yanked them out of the ground. My honeycrisp apple trees and sour cherry tree have already flowered and started producing fruit. My apple trees are even sporting some apple socks for protection and style because I’m determined to actually grow and eat my first apples vs. having the birds eat my apples. I’ll talk about my apple socks in a future post because they are special… Also, exciting this year is that my blueberry plants that have sat idle for three years are actually doing something this year, yay! I noticed flowers on one of the pitiful plants earlier this month. See?? Maybe I’ll be rewarded with a handful of fresh blueberries if I can keep the bunnies away.

Flowering blueberry bush, or stick, or whatever you want to call this.
But one of the first things to emerge from the ground after winter is rhubarb! Seriously, this stuff deserves a gold star for being crazily productive and ready to harvest so early. I was lucky enough to have gotten two free rhubarb plants from my parents’ yard. And as a bonus, there was a strawberry plant hanging on, so I also have strawberries as well. Like blueberries and apples, this may be the year I harvest my first strawberry. Last year, I was tracking the growth of a BEAUTIFUL strawberry. I looked at the fruit every morning and every evening, wanting to pick it when it was at its prime. One morning before work, I made a note that I was going to pick it and eat it in the afternoon. When I came home, it was gone… This is war, bunnies, war.
One of two rhubarb plants (+ strawberries!)
Enough about everything else though. I’ll get to it in a later post. This post is dedicated to rhubarb, some of the best stuff on earth.
There are so many things you can do with rhubarb. Here are some of my favorite recipes that come to mind:
But most recently, I’ve discovered candied rhubarb. This stuff is amazing! Candied rhubarb captures the best of both worlds, sour and sweet, and it makes for a very refreshing treat! And it’s super simple. Here’s where I got the original recipe: http://tikkido.com/blog/candied-rhubarb-recipe
Start by cutting 2 stalks of rhubarb into 3-4″ long pieces and then thinly slice. The thinner the better.
Thinly sliced rhubarb + canine kitchen helper.
In a small pot, add 1 c sugar, 1 cup water1/2 t cinnamon and 1/2 t ground nutmeg (spices are optional). Heat until sugar is dissolved.
Drop sliced rhubarb in dissolved sugar solution, stir to coat, and then use tongs to lay out the rhubarb on a parchment paper-lined sheet pan. Lay the rhubarb out so it’s close together, but not touching. Note, it’s not necessary to let the rhubarb sit in the solution for long, just a quick dip will be sufficient.
Rhubarb taking a quick dip in the sugar solution.
Bake for 200F for about 1-1.5 hours, with the exact time depending on how thin you slice the rhubarb and how dried out you want your “candy” to be. Bake until the rhubarb looks mostly dried out and shriveled in appearance.
Done! Rhubarb post-baking.
It’s as easy as that! It can be eaten as a snack, dessert, or even used as a garnish because they’re so pretty. Even dinosaurs think it’s delightful.
While these dinosaurs are carnivores, they enjoy a nice rhubarb snack from time to time.
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