Rhubarb Thumb

Some people have black thumbs like Stepford Husband.  Most other people have green thumbs.  And for some reason, many of the people with green thumbs find their thumbs are greenier (greenier?  I think I need to slow down with the anti-inflammatorys), pardon, greener with particular plants.  My dad grows bonsai like some people grow grass.  My sister kills bonsai, but nasturtiums run Rapunzel-like through her garden.  My nasturtiums look like bonsai…miniature bonsai, but for me rhubarb is the plant that never fails.

This plant is a part of the original rhubarb plant that I had two houses ago.  Yes, that’s a vegie garden – you can see onions in the background?  It also grows weed.  You could eat weeds if you had to. And there are six asparagus plants waiting to pop up next year (please,please,please).

 This is my Grandma rhubarb.

The Grandma of this Grandma plant is at my family home, and I have eaten the rhubarb from it since I was a wee thing.

This is the daughter of my Grandma plant.
 It sits in the front veranda garden bed.  I love this rhubarb because Dad told me that it wouldn’t do any good in that spot.  I don’t want to grow up and no-one’s going to make me!

 This is Other Rhubarb Daughter (otherwise known as Company Rhubarb – is that weird?).  She’s the one I strip to give to visitors who enjoy rhubarb – she’s closest to where people park their car. 

 This is Newbie Rhubarb.  I’m not sure what I was thinking putting her there.  All of those things growing around her threaten to engulf her if they live up to their potential.  On the otherhand, she may defeat them all Mwahhahahah!  Stay tuned for a name change: Evil Rhubarb!

 This is…well this is Robert come to say ‘Helloo’ and why are you wandering around talking to yourself and do you have any carrots in your dressing gown pocket?

 No?  That’s very disappointing…Well scratch my bottom please and I’ll be on my way.


Finally, the surprise Rhubarbs, baby Rhubarbs if you will.

  This one gave me a real ‘What the…?’ moment.  It’s not anywhere that makes sense – kind of like my brain.

 And this one came about because a piece of rhubarb root from a compost pile apparently popped back to life.  This one is growing in a native plant garden bed.  She’s their English girlfriend.  Can you tell I didn’t play much with dolls when I was little?

I imagine anyone still reading is also a Rhubarb fan.  Here’s your reward.  My favorite flavour with rhubarb is strawberries.  I discovered this recipe when I found a punnet of squishy, but not furry, strawbs in the fridge.  The kids are picky and won’t eat fruit that has squish factor – except mangoes dammit!  So Strawberry and Rhubarb Crumble is one of our absolute favorite desserts.  Luckily, because we have to eat it quite a bit.  Naturally it could be ‘Rhubarb-by-itself Crumble’, or ‘Rhubarb & Apple Crumble’.  And it could feed many more than 5, just increase the ingrediants as you see fit.  It is very forgiving.  And good for you.  Sure it is.

Strawberry and Rhubarb Crumble (a very flexy recipe and great for experimenting)

2 bunches rhubarb or an awkward armful from the garden – leaves removed and composted.
1 punnet of strawberries (or really as many as you like)
Rind and juice of an orange
3/4 to 1 cup sugar
knob of butter

For crumble:
1 cup flour (plain or wholemeal or mixed is fine)
1/2 cup ground almonds, or polenta, or rolled oats (or a mixture)
1/2 cup brown sugar
125g to 140g butter, chopped into cubes
1 cup blanched almonds, chopped (optional)
pinch of cinnamon

Preheat oven to 200 degrees C/ 400 degrees F.  Chop rhubarb into 2 cm pieces and pop into a saucepan with orange rind and juice, sugar and butter.  Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.  Don’t let it catch.  Remove from heat.  Meanwhile slice strawberries.  Tip rhubarb into baking dish with juices, add strawberries and stir slightly.

Make crumble by dumping all ingrediants, except for butter and any chopped nuts, into a bowl.  Give a stir to mix, then rub butter through with fingers until mixture looks like breadcrumbs – don’t make it too uniform.  Stir the chopped nuts through if using, then scatter crumble mixture over the rhubarb and strawberry mix.

Bake in oven 35 – 40 minutes until crisp and golden on top, with fruit bubbling through.  Remove and cool for a few minutes (sugary-fruit burns hurt!) then serve with cream, custard or ice cream. 

Eat leftovers for breakfast.

9 thoughts on “Rhubarb Thumb

  1. My mum would like rhubarb with strawberries too; she likes strawberries with everything, and definitely has a rhubarb thumb. I like rhubarb apple crisp. And when we were little, Mum would make pineapple-rhubarb jam. Those were the days!
    The Robert station break was hilarious, by the way.

  2. I have only one rhubard story and it’s sad funny as opposed to funny ha ha.

    I moved into a new house in the city. On moving in day (which was at Easter), I was delighted to see some white rabbits happily munching on the plants in our little back garden. Must be a neighbour’s pet, I thought, allowed to roam freely while our property had been empty. Will go and introduce myself to the neighbours tomorrow I also pondered. Hope they like me.
    Sad part of story coming up. Next morning awoke to find said rabbits lifeless in my garden. I didn’t know rhubard leaves were poisonous to rabbits and obviously no-one had told the pet rabbits either.
    Funny part of story. So I go round to new neighbours and for some reason thought it would be a good idea to start the conversation with “Oh hello are you the owners of the white rabbits in my garden?”
    The reply “Yes, my children got them for Easter, aren’t they adorable!”.
    …..where do you take your conversation from there!

  3. Loved your post Alyson. I’m glad the rhubarb grows well for you. I think it has a mind of its’ own sometimes, no matter where you put it. At least, that has been my experience in the past.
    Absolutely, rhubarb and strawberries are one of the best combos!

  4. Pineapple and rhubarb jam is not a combo I would have thought of, but definitely one I want to try! Robert thinks he is hilarious too!

    Oh, Jack’s Mom, that is *wincingly* funny – I guess it all went downhill from there…what were those rabbits thinking?

    Stace, I have tried it- YUM, one of my favorites! I hadn’t thought to make some vanilla yogurt with my Yomix (love that thing!) and put some stewed rhubarb through…nice in the hotter weather.

    Thanks Elizabeth and welcome! I know some people call it a weed, but I guess it’s all about your perspective…as a cook, I think it’s wonderful!

  5. And then our cherry tree fell on their garage. But that’s another story. They didn’t keep in touch after they moved away.
    Can’t think why!

  6. I think they must have had really bad karma, Jack’s Mom, is it terrible that I laughed…again? You could write a screenplay for that and it would be a hit!

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