Saturday, July 3, 2010


We love rhubarb, especially rhubarb pie!

My rhubarb grows in the lasagna garden with my salad things, herbs and berry collection. Most of that garden is perennial so it makes sense to grow it there, since it is perennial. I like to till up the vegetable gardens in the fall and spring.

I am adding to my rhubarb this year, since we have discovered rhubarb pies. I originally planted it for wine making, which I still plan to do. I will only make one gallon this year, just to see if we like it and because I don't have a lot of rhubarb right now.

The rest will go into the freezer or be canned for winter pie filling storage. I like to make the pie fillings ahead of time and freeze them. I also make pastry ahead and freeze it, so pie making is simple and quick. You can see my pastry recipe and directions in the second half of a previous post entitled "
Farm Baking". My sour cream or sour dough biscuit recipe is there too. I should make some biscuits today for breakfast!

Rhubarb should be picked when the entire stalk is red. The green parts are not that good to eat since they are not ripe yet. If you pick it when it is green at the top and add that to the rhubarb you use, it will be extremely tart. The secret to good rhubarb is to use it only when it is ripe enough. Your rhubarb is going to be very tart, that's its nature. You will just need to add more sugar to it.

The bottom of the stalk should be a dark wine colour.

The peel of the rhubarb cooks to a very tender state. When the rhubarb is cooked you won't be able to tell the peel from the rest of it, so it doesn't need to be peeled first. Its not like celery, where the peel stays tough and stringy. You will waste a lot of good fruit if you peel it first. Do cut any brown or black spots off, however.

These have a bit of green at the top that will need to be cut off.

Chop it up into little pieces before you cook it and it will be more tender and cook faster.

This is my pie filling recipe for Rhubarb pie:

4 cups chopped rhubarb
3 cups sugar
1/2 cup flour

Combine well in pot and simmer on low, stirring well. Cook on low until slightly thick and bubbly, stirring more or less continually. Pour into prepared pie crust, put the top on and bake immediately at 350F for 45-50 minutes, until the crust is well done, top and bottom. You don't need to cook the filling while baking the pie, since you did most of that before you put the pie in the oven.

If you are adding the hot filling to a pie crust, you have to bake it right away. The hot filling will melt the fat in the crust and it won't be the same if you wait.
If you are not baking it right away, store the filling separately in another container until you are ready to bake the pie.

To freeze the filling: let it cool completely then spoon into a freezer bag. Get out all the air and flatten it. Flat bags stack in the freezer and take up less space.

Just an important note: Rhubarb leaves are very poisonous. You can make insecticide out of them that will kill anything.


Granny J said...

This was a great post. I hear people say they don't like rhubarb and I think it's because they don't know when to pick it and how to cook it. My mom had a big patch of rhubarb and made great pies.

Your rhubarb pie looks delicious. I saved your pie crust recipe. I've never been able to make good pie crust but am going to attempt to make one this week. I didn't know about hot filling pulling out the fat from the crust. I guess it's true that you're never too old to learn. Thanks for that tip.

icebear said...

I used to love rhubarb pie, it was second only to strwaberry-rhubarb pie! :)

My plant is a old heirloom type that never gets quite as red as yours. I have thought about getting another type to add to my garden.

I need to remember to try and can some pre-made filling like you do.

Anonymous said...

My rhubarb doesn't get red at all. It is not that kind, I don't think. I believe that alll rhubarb is tart in any case.

Sheryl at Providence Acres Farm said...

I have heard of green rhubarb but never seen it. It is tart, but its a lot more tart if its not ripe yet.

Wills Kitchen said...

Wife and I have never had a rhubarb anything, but this looks really good. I have seen them in the grocery store so I may have to give a try.
How does one know what to look for when it is ready to cook?

The Japanese Redneck said...

Rhubarb doesn't grow well in the Mississippi heat. They do have it in the grocery stores. But, since I need to cut sugar, I don't buy it.

Sheryl at Providence Acres Farm said...

The stalks need to be firm and red all the way down.

I have never bought rhubarb in the store before. It might be fresher from a farmer's market.

I don't eat much of the pies I make, myself, either. Hubby and grown son eat them. I keep away from simple sugars as much I can, but I do still eat the odd piece.

Linda Stubbs said...

My rhubard does not get red either. I thought I bought two new ones last year at Farmer's Market that were supose to be red. Not! So now I have 15 or so green ones. I want RED! The red taste fine, we like to put strawberries with! Nummy looking pie you made.

Blessings, Linda

Linda Stubbs said...

Haha I said rhubard. Silly me! Rhubarb, I meant to spell.
Me again :< )

Sheryl at Providence Acres Farm said...

Thank you, Granny J! I'm glad you liked the post!

No problem with misspelling, Linda! lol! I make a lot of types too.

You must be able to find red rhubarb in a big garden center? I got mine from my mother in law. She is giving me more this fall.

Linda Stubbs said...

I would be willing to pay for a little plant, if she would sell it and you send it to me! Let me know. I would love to get one started! I have wonderful ground and mine is beautiful!

blessings, me again!

Sheryl at Providence Acres Farm said...

Linda, I have sent you an email :-)