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