Adventures in Rhubarb

After Memorial Day weekend was over and the beaches were empty and the streets were clear, my Mom and I decided to take a stroll. It was a bright and sunny day, and the neighborhood was quiet and peaceful. We came upon this sign.

“Please pick some rhubarb.” And they say New Englanders aren’t friendly… But wait a minute, what does a rhubarb plant look like? We trekked across the lawn to the side of the house as directed and poked around. Oh look, there it is!

See the rhubarb on the inside of the plant?

Now that we found the rhubarb, we had to figure out how to harvest it. There were a few garden tools left in the wheelbarrow nearby. I got to work and my Mom took pictures.

Our modest rhubarb harvest consisted of 4 stalks. The plant was large, but we didn’t want to be greedy, and we actually had no idea what we were going to cook. I had used rhubarb just once before in a chutney.

One of the first places to go for unique recipes is Smitten Kitchen, and she had recently posted this recipe for rhubarb muffins. We had all the ingredients on hand, and immediately got to baking. The recipe is fairly straightforward, and includes a streusel topping. The sweet mixture of brown sugar and butter perfectly balances the tart flavor of the rhubarb. We made up a dish of muffins, and then went outside to sit on the deck and enjoy the fruits of our labor.

It was a great opportunity to pick produce practically in our backyard and then immediately use it to create something delicious. You can actually see the chunks of rhubarb in the muffins. This is the real definition of local food, and I hope to experience more of these opportunities soon.

Thanks to the neighbors who generously put up the sign offering the rhubarb! We used the remaining stalks for another project, but I’ll save the rest of the adventures in rhubarb for another post.

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