Help! Rhubarb has taken over. : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

What can I use rhubarb for? We have jam and pie filling, enough for small army. Need some other uses. I've got to cut it back so I can get into my shed.

-- && (&&@&&.&), June 27, 1999


Try doing a search of rhubarb recipes on the internet. I had the same problem with zuchinni. Found lots of uses and recipes. There is a ton of information here! Have fun.


-- GeeGee (, June 27, 1999.

A local Amish farmer told me that he uses Rubarb leaves as a natural insecticide.

-- Alexi (, June 27, 1999.

We can't grow it here in Florida, but out west I mulched my garden with it by just laying the leaves down. Great to keep the bugs away. What ever you do...don't feed it to livestock. Its leaves are poisonous.

Taz...who used to make a mean rhubarb and strawberry combo pie.

-- Taz (Tassie, June 27, 1999.

And don't forget rhubarb upside down cake. Follow the recipe for pineapple but use the 'barb. Its soooooooooooo good!

Taz...who is drooling into her key board. Yuk!!

-- Taz (Tassie, June 27, 1999.

Rhubarb: The Unconventional Vegetable

Rhubarb has ties to baseball, scours pots clean, sets your teeth on edge, is called the "pie plant" and can help the the ozone layer...

Vegetable or Fruit? A misunderstood plant, rhubarb suffers from an identity crisis that would probably benefit from a little counseling. Sunset's New Western Garden Book describes rhubarb as an "uncommon vegetable" that is used as a fruit in sauces and pies. Joy of Cooking, America's institution of the kitchen has this to say about rhubarb: "Only by the wildest stretch of the imagination can rhubarb be included in this [fruit] chapter, but its tart flavor and its customary uses make it a reasonable facsimilie, when cooked, of fruit."

Rhubarb itself has an interesting origin, taking its name from the Latin rha barbarum. The Romans called it this because the plant was native to the river Rha (the Volga), then considered a foreign "barbarian" territory--thus meaning "from the barbarian (foreign) Rha."

Rhubarb and Baseball While some sources trace the use of the word rhubarb back to Shakespearean theatrical traditions, the slang term rhubarb is often associated with baseball. Rhubarb means "a heated argument," a "rumpus" or a "row." (It's easy to see how the term can apply to an argument on the diamond).

A good source of calcium, potassium and vitamis A and C, the first rhubarb planted in America was sent to the great naturalist John Bartram from Siberia in 1770. Gardener-cooks have long called rhubarb "pie plant" because it makes such delicious pies, especially when combined with berries and other fruits. It is also called the "go- quick" plant for its mild (author's note) laxative qualities.

Rhubarb (Rheum rhabarbarum) is a beautiful plant, not only because of its big, heart shaped, crinkled leaves and red-tinted stalks, but since it's one of spring's earliest vegetables, rhubarb's appearance heralds the end of winter. Rhubarb is showy enough to qualify for a top spot in a display garden. Showcased or not, this long-lived perennial makes a well-adapted staple in most gardens. Easy to grow, rhubarb likes a cold climate (it struggles in a hot one), that responds well to periodic mulching.

Climate and Soil Requiring at least two months of cold weather, rhubarb likes a well-drained acid soil. Choose a sunny, out- of-the-way place because, with proper care, it will continue to grow and yield for years, and years. (Three to 6 plants are plenty for a family of 4, with leftovers for the neighbors).

Planting and Varieties Rhubarb rarely breeds true with seed, so it's best to grow rhubarb from root divisions, called crowns. If you have a choice, (that is, if you didn't "inherit" a few plants from a well-meaning neighbor overrun with 'barb), select plants with stalks with the reddest color. Red stalks seem to have a milder flavor than green stalks. (Green stalks are never a concern with me because I just add strawberries or raspberries if I want more color). "Canada Red," "MacDonald" and "Cherry Red" (red stalks) and "Victoria" (green stalks) are the most common varieties. (See Sources and Resources below). Set the new crowns at least 4 inches deep and 3 to 4 feet apart in holes filled with generous amounts of well-aged manure or compost. Water thoroughly to prevent transplant shock. Leaves may wilt, but they'll recover.

Growing Concerns Once plants sprout, apply mulch to retain soil moisture. In the winter, when it dies down, you can bury the plants deeply in a mulch of manure, leaf-mold, compost or other organic material. In the spring, pull the mulch away from around the plants to let the sun warm the soil. Side-dress with compost or manure in midsummer and again in the fall. Fish emulsion is also good. Since rhubarb grows from large, fleshy rhizomes, you'll need to divide your plants every 4th of 5th year. (Less often if you keep up with periodic mulching). Divide plants in the early spring before the leaves fully develop.

Rhubarb, like celery, needs lots of water. Otherwise the stalks become fibrous, stringy and tough. Water rhubarb often and never allow it to get dried out. If you live in a dry climate or rain shadow, or if your rhubarb crop is located under a tree canopy, it's a good idea to leave a slight depression around the plant so that it can be filled with water. The moisture then slowly soaks in around the plant.

Harvesting When the leaves are fully developed, break and pull stalks from the crowns rather than cutting the stems (this lets in rot). Don't harvest at all in the first year and take only the big thick stalks: let the thinner ones grow to nourish the plants. Never take more than half the stems in one year. Stop harvesting altogether by mid-summer. Don't eat the foliage, though: they're poisonous.

Problems Rhubarb is usually pest-free. Occaionally it's attacked by cabbage worms or a beetle called the rhubarb currculio, that bores into every part of the plant, especially the edible stalks. A small, rust-colored beetle, it's easily removed by handpicking. The beetle lives in dock plants, so don't grow rhubarb near dock.

Rhubarb can succumb to crown rot. This usually occurs in shady, soggy soil. To prevent rot, keep stalks thinned to encourage air circulation, and clean up around crowns in the fall. If plants do become infected, remove the entire plant(s).

Dawn's Rhubarb Pudding Cake 4 c. diced rhubarb 1 c. sugar 3/4 c. water 2 Tbl. cornstarch 1/4 c. shortening or butter 1/2 c. sugar 1 egg 1/2 tsp. vanilla 1 c. flour 2 tsp. baking powder 1/4 tsp. salt 1/2 c. milk

Cook rhubarb, 1 cup sugar and 1/2 cup of water until rhubarb is tender. Dissolve cornstarch in remaining 1/4 cup water and stir into hot rhubarb mixture until it thickens. Keep sauce hot. Cream shortening and 1/2 cup sugar. Beat in egg and vanilla. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Add alternately with milk to creamed mixture. Pour batter into greased 9x13-inch glass dish. Spoon hot rhubarb sauce over batter. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serves 6.

Other Uses Rhubarb stems contain oxalic acid, which sets your teeth on edge, but scours pans clean! In her book, Slug Bread & Beheaded Thistles (see Sources and Resources below), Ellen Sandbeck describes how rhubarb leaves are used to kill aphids. "Rhubarb leaves are highly poisonous. After you have made strawberry rhubarb pie with your rhubarb stems,"

1) Boil one pound of the rhubarb leaves in one quart of water for 30 minutes.

2) Strain and add a dash of liquid soap to make it stick.

3) Spray it on aphids to kill them.

Note: use rhubarb spray only on ornamental plants.

-- Tom Carey (, June 27, 1999.

The root is a laxative and in small amounts a digestive tonic.

-- Mara Wayne (, June 27, 1999.

Rhubarb must have grown wild in the ditches at one time because up here the expression "to hit the rhubarb" means you have driven off the road and into the ditch. :)

-- Rachel Gibson (, June 27, 1999.

Hey &&, Could you please post your recipe for rhubarb jam here? It sounds great! Thanks!

-- (, June 27, 1999.

See also:

-- Old Git (, June 27, 1999.

Thaks, Dawn.....I'm going out, right now, to pick some "barb' and make your recipe....sounds delish. I have a cookbook featuring only rhubarb recipes...called, 'The Rhubarb Cookbook' by Jan Smart. It's a paperback.....put out by Gallimaufry Press, 616 Fourth St., Nanaimo, B.C V9R 1T7 (This is from Canada, so I don't know if the last letters are part of the address. I got it a few y ears ago by sending away for it.) Love rhubarb recipes!

-- Jo Ann (, June 27, 1999.

Everything you ever wanted to know about rhubarb.

-- dave (, June 27, 1999.

&& Email me and I will send you a recipe for a wonderful Rhubarb and onion relish. It is called Alaska relish. Don't ask me why it is called that. I'll try to get over being mad because you can grow rhubarb and I can't. After planting it every year for about 8 years, decided just to buy it at the store.

-- Belle (, June 27, 1999.

I have tons of rhubarb and have recently been making fruit leather out of it. Cook it up into an applesauce consistency, add sweetener, and then put it in a dehydrator (on a special plastic sheet that comes with some dehydrators, or on a round plastic sheet cut out from a plastic supermarket bag). Takes very little room to store, lasts a long time.

-- judy (, June 28, 1999.

Make some more pies and send them HERE! I'll pay the FedEx charges! <:)=

-- Sysman (, June 28, 1999.

Rhubarb Sauce. Put small amount of water in pot. Cut up 3 to 4 stalks of rhubarb. Start cooking until it becomes soft. Add a fair amount of sugar to taste (until the concoction is sweet). Could also add strawberries or apples. Use as you would compote or applesauce.

-- Libby Alexander (, June 29, 1999.

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