A Sentiment

God knew what He was doing when He sent a gentle breeze and brought a lovely butterfly to set my heart at ease. The happiness of your friendship and the gentleness of your words have touched my life in special ways and now I feel assured. Thank you for your loyalty and for reading everyday. I only hope you find things to make a happy day.

Monday, March 22, 2010

What Were Those Nubs?

As I was working on the border of the woods, I saw a couple of little nubs sticking up out of the ground. I looked and looked at them and thought they looked a bit like a canna. I knew that cannas were not coming up there...however. I kept on with my work and forgot about them. Last night, when I was looking at a gardening magazine, I saw an article about rhubarb. A light bulb went off in my head. I had forgotten that I had planted rhubarb last year. Oh, boy....rhubarb! I had lots of rhubarb in my former house. When we moved there I had one plant...then my Mom said, "Why don't you plant one for me?" Not to be outdone...my mother-in-law said, "I like rhubarb too...plant one for me." We had rhubarb coming out of our ears. I made kuchens, pies, cookies, breads, freezer jam...you name it. My favorite way of eating it is sauce...just simple sauce with toast for breakfast.

My plants were the Valentine variety. Rhubarb Valentine is great crop for early use. Broad, bright red stalks. Great for pies and sauce, use along with strawberries for strawberry/rhubarb pie. These plants seldom go to seed. They were never spindly stalks and always a bright red color. Rhubarb is a cool season, perennial plant that is very winter hardy and resistant to drought. Its crop is produced from crowns consisting of fleshy rhizomes and buds. Following a season of growth the rhubarb crown becomes dormant and temperatures below 40­ F are required to stimulate bud break and subsequent growth. They like the cool weather and may go dormant during the hot summer.Rhubarb responds to good care and watering. Remove the flower stalks as they are seen. During the first year of planting, the stalks should not be picked, since food from the leaves is needed to nourish the roots for the next year's growth. One light picking may be taken during the year following planting if the plants are vigorous, and beginning the second year following planting, the entire plant may be harvested. When harvesting rhubarb, the first step is to cut the stalks at the soil line or simply pull them out individually. All of the stalks of a plant may be harvested at one time, or pulled out selectively over a 4-6 week period. After the stalks are cut, the leaves may be removed. For the home (small) gardener, rhubarb will tolerate a fair amount of neglect and still thrive, they are very tough plants. The following recipe is pie the way Mom made it. It would come out of the oven and sit on the counter filling the house with that wonderful aroma. We couldn't wait to eat the first fresh pie of the season. Here's the recipe....

Rhubarb Custard Pie...My Mom's recipe

9 inch double pie crust
- 3 eggs
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 6 cups fresh rhubarb - cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon butter - cut into small pieces
Container: 9 inch pie plate
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Heat oven to 400°.
In a large bowl, beat eggs slightly.
Add milk and stir in sugar, flour, nutmeg, cinnamon. Mix well.
Stir in rhubarb.
Add 3 drops of red food coloring, if desired, and mix to combine.
Pour into a pastry lined pie plate.
Dot with butter.
Cover with lattice top or regular pie crust. If using a regular pie crust, cut 2 to 3 slits into the top for the steam to escape.
Seal and flute edges.
Bake for 50-60 minutes or until golden brown.
Serve warm or at room temperature.

Mom always used her pyrex pie plate for this pie. She never fluted the edges of her pies. She always used a fork and pressed the tines on the edge to do her crusts. They were quick to do this way and not fancy....just good!
Hey Joe...If you are reading my post today...Happy Birthday, Joey!


Noelle said...

I have never grown Rhubarb, but I am just starting my first vegetable garden so maybe it is time to try. By the way, I linked your February Bouquet post to my blog entry today. I went out and cut more flowers for March's Bouquet. I hope you can participate :-)

Balisha said...

Hi Noelle...I just posted my bouquet.What fun I'm having...hope others join us. Great idea!

Wsprsweetly Of Cottages said...

I was just thinking about asking you if you were going to make rubarb pie...and there it was. A recipe. Made me smile. As soon as I saw the plant I knew it was rubarb...you must have been so please to see how it had grown!

coolwaterworks said...

Hi Balisha...

This post is interesting, it made me check the Wikipedia... I have never seen or heard of rhubarb before... :)

It cannot be found here in the tropics I think...

Thanks for sharing... And I also checked on some rhubarb pies... Hmmm... they look enticing and delicious too... :)

thesouthernlady64 said...

My mom used to make rhubarb pies, too, and she did her crust with a fork. I do it that way, too. My mother added lots of sugar to anything she made with rhubarb. The first time I ate it at my mother-in-laws house I don't think she had any sugar at all in it and I about choked to death on the first bite! My dad had several plants in the garden that came back every year. We were always told not to bother the leaves because they were poison.