Growing up on the farm, my mom always had a large garden and we had a bounty of fresh vegetables and fruits, including apples, raspberries, currants and gooseberries. Nothing was heartier than the big rhubarb plant. It would poke out of the ground with the first buds and, within a few weeks, the stalks would be long with big leaves. Mom’s garden has been scaled back to just flowers, but she has kept the rhubarb plant, which she harvests several times a year to make juice, pies and jam.
Thankfully, rhubarb is a perennial and almost impossible to kill. I’ve tried, I know! It survives in just about any type of soil and if you treat it well, with just a bit of compost and fertilizer, you will reap an abundance to use fresh – with more than enough to freeze for use throughout the winter. A tip a friend gave me was to always pull the stalks out, by grabbing close to the base, instead of cutting the stalks off. Also, keep pulling out the thick, tough flowering stalks – by doing that, your rhubarb plant will continue to produce fresh stalks all summer.
This morning I snuck down and grabbed a few stalks to make this favorite muffin recipe. The recipe hails from the cookbook titled Rhubarb…more than just pies, by Sandi Vitt and Michael Hickman, with an introduction by the famous Lois Hole.
This recipe is called Phantom Rhubarb Muffins. I wondered about the name because the recipe is pretty simple and straightforward. I believe that the name stems from the fact that they are so good, that they vanish in no time!
There are so many uses for rhubarb beside pies and crisps, including chutneys, relishes, sauces, punches and liqueurs. Strawberry rhubarb crisp and pie are our family favorite. I’d love to hear what your favorite rhubarb recipes are!