Growing Joy in the Garden and Kitchen...One Rhubarb Plant At A Time

Growing Joy in the Garden and Kitchen...One Rhubarb Plant At A Time

I believe that life begins the day you start a garden. Gardens are helpful for our minds, healing for our souls, and healthy for our bodies when we eat the things that grow. We love getting our hands in the dirt and feeling one with nature—and it's even better when we see the fruits of our labor start to spring through the earth. One of my favorite plants is rhubarb; it's so sturdy, beautiful, and I love to use it in the recipes I make for friends and family. Rhubarb is one of those gems that not many people know about, and I am happy to share some interesting insights with you—plus one of my FAVORITE recipes, rhubarb custard pie. It's perfect this time of year and so easy to make.

Rhubarb is a fascinating plant with a storied history and a unique place in the culinary world. Despite often being associated with sweet desserts like pies and crisps, rhubarb is technically a vegetable. Its tart, tangy stalks pair perfectly with fruits like strawberries, balancing out their sweetness and creating delectable treats. But did you know that rhubarb has been used for thousands of years in traditional Chinese medicine? Primarily valued for its purgative properties, it was once considered a medicinal wonder. However, it's important to remember that while the stalks are delicious, the leaves contain high levels of oxalic acid and are toxic. So, be sure to trim those leaves away before cooking!

One of the most exciting aspects of rhubarb is its versatility and hardiness. As a perennial plant, it can thrive in your garden for over a decade, making it a reliable source of fresh produce each spring. In fact, rhubarb is one of the first crops to be harvested in early spring, often signaling the start of the growing season. In some parts of the world, such as the Rhubarb Triangle in West Yorkshire, England, rhubarb is grown in the dark—a process known as "forcing"—which makes the stalks tender and sweeter. This "forced rhubarb" is a delicacy that many chefs and home cooks cherish. Low in calories but high in fiber, rhubarb is not only a delicious addition to your meals but also a healthy one. From savory dishes and sauces to jams and cocktails, the possibilities are endless with this extraordinary plant.

Rhubarb is also a delightful addition to any garden because of its vibrant colors and striking appearance. The bright red stalks and large green leaves make it a standout among garden plants. I find immense joy in watching rhubarb grow and flourish, knowing that soon it will be part of a delicious dish that brings people together. One of my favorite recipes is rhubarb custard pie. This pie is a wonderful blend of tangy and sweet, with a creamy custard filling that perfectly complements the tartness of the rhubarb. It's an easy recipe that anyone can make, and it's always a hit at gatherings. So, next time you're looking for a unique and tasty dessert, give rhubarb custard pie a try—you won't be disappointed!

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