Rhubarb is a group of plants that belong to the genus Rheum in the family Polygonaceae. It is a good source of vitamin C and iron, and is widely used in deserts, jams and other preparations. The variety we will have available for sale this Spring is "Canada Red". Hardy to Zone 2, it produces tender, sweet and slender red stalks which hold their colour when cooked.
The ideal soil for a rhubarb patch is clay loam. Rhubarb plants respond well to moisture, although reliable yields can be obtained with minimal moisture. Do not harvest during the year of planting or during the following year. The root and crown must be allowed to grow in order to store energy reserves. Full harvest can begin the third year after planting. No more than two thirds of the large stalks should be removed at any one time.
In harvesting rhubarb, simply pull the stalks; this will usually cause them to separate from the crown. Harvesting begins in late May and continues until July. Under most conditions harvesting should cease at the end of July to allow the the food reserves to build up again in the roots and crown. The leaves of the plant are not consumed as they contain a high concentration of oxalic acid salts which can be very toxic. They are a good source of organic matter for the compost pile.
We have included a recipe for Rhubarb that is a huge favourite around our house.
Strawberry and Rhubarb Pie
2-9" unbaked pie shells
1/3 cup 0f flour
4 cups rhubarb chopped
1 cup of fresh or frozen strawberries cut in half
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
In a large bowl, combine rhubarb and strawberries. In a separate bowl, mix 1/3 cup flour, sugar and yogurt. Pour over fruit. Pour fruit and sour cream mixture into pie shells.
Prepare brown sugar topping by mixing last 3 ingredients together until crumbly. Spread on top of pies. Bake at 450 degrees F. for 15 minutes, then reduce to 350 degrees F. for 30 minutes. Can be frozen after baking.