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Thread: Rhubarb questions

  1. #1
    Senior Member Cosy's Avatar
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    Rhubarb questions

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I planted rhubarb last year, mostly for the nostalgia: we always had some in our garden rowing up, but I didn't pay much attention to the cultivating of the stuff. I knew I shouldn't pick any last year, to give them time to really "settle in". So, this year it is doing just great, so I have a few questions:
    Can I harvest some this year? When?
    Where exactly do I cut the stalks, at the crown/base, or further up the stalk??
    How much of the plant can I harvest at one time or over the growing season?
    I know that the seed stalks need to be removed, are these edible? (I know the leaves are not)
    Can the leaves be composted?

    Usually we had just stewed rhubarb, Mom would can quarts of the juice left from the stewing to use in making punches, usually red kool-ade mixed half and half . any other ideas for using rhubarb?
    Cosy
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  2. #2
    Super Member PurplePassion's Avatar
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    Yes , you can harvest about half the stalks this year. Do NOT cut the stalks , pull them. other wise the part that is left from cut off will rot. The leaves are not to be put in the compost pile either. I have a good custard cake recipe --I will find and post.

  3. #3
    Senior Member ljfox's Avatar
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    Never harvest more than half the plant and pull it, don't cut it. The seed stalks are hollow so they are not good for eating. I make freezer jam, pies, and rhubarb upside down cake with mine.

  4. #4
    Super Member paulswalia's Avatar
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    a quick Google search will give you all the rhubarb recipes you can ever cook! I have a jello/rhubarb pie recipe (served cold) that is a family favorite. All the above advice sounds just right.
    We are here to learn how to live in heaven - I'm still learning.

  5. #5
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    I guess I just have to different, I always cut my stalks leaving about an inch above the ground. I have been doing it that way for the last 40 some years and haven't killed my plants yet. My Ruby Red always comes on first in the spring. I do remove the seed heads to extend the cutting season.

  6. #6
    Super Member ube quilting's Avatar
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    Stew it with amount of sugar to your liking and scoop it over vanilla ice cream. Nothing better than this, yummmmm.
    peace
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  7. #7
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PurplePassion View Post
    Yes , you can harvest about half the stalks this year. Do NOT cut the stalks , pull them. other wise the part that is left from cut off will rot. The leaves are not to be put in the compost pile either. I have a good custard cake recipe --I will find and post.
    Why should the leaves not be added to the compost?
    I do ... and don;t know of any problems.

    Rhubarb Custard Cake .. you have my attention, and I would so appreciate the recipe.
    Thanks!

    Was checking my rhubarb yesterday and it's well on the way ... though a long way from harvesting!
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  8. #8
    Super Member carslo's Avatar
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    I miss rhubarb here in socal - it is very expensive to buy at the farmers market. It always grew like a weed no matter where I lived in Canada.
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  9. #9
    Super Member PurplePassion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by QuiltE View Post
    Why should the leaves not be added to the compost?
    I do ... and don;t know of any problems.

    Rhubarb Custard Cake .. you have my attention, and I would so appreciate the recipe.
    Thanks!

    Was checking my rhubarb yesterday and it's well on the way ... though a long way from harvesting!
    That is what I heard and read, they said the leaves are poison; not to put them in the compost pile , just put them in the garbage.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Cosy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carslo View Post
    I miss rhubarb here in socal - it is very expensive to buy at the farmers market. It always grew like a weed no matter where I lived in Canada.
    From my research on the stuff, seems like rhubarb needs a cold spell to do well, so to get it in SoCal, I'm guessing it must need to be trucked in from colder places, hence the price. Altho I haven't bought it from our local stores because of the price.
    Last edited by Cosy; 05-02-2013 at 05:05 PM.
    Cosy
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  11. #11
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    We put the leaves in the compost bin and there were never any problems. Growing up, my dad told us that the poisonous parts of the leaves do not get absorbed by the root system of plants when using the compost in a garden or flower beds. We laid the leaves out flat to create a layer to readily compost and, as my dad said, 'the leaves will be more diluted with the rest of the stuff'.
    Rules he gave us:
    Never cut rhubarb as the stems may rot.
    Pull gently toward you, then pull to the side and twist. Ripe rhubarb should 'snap and pop' right out when pulled the right way (His Way). The crowns of the rhubarb will remain and keep the plant strong.
    Always wait 2 years to harvest new plantings.
    Stop pulling rhubarb by the 4th of July. Leave the plant alone and there should be another harvest in the fall.
    Never pull a stalk less than 10-12" in length.
    Never take more than half of the plant during the harvesting season.
    Thinning out the rhubarb is good for the plant-don't let the plant go without harvesting some during the season.
    Don't pull the stems all in the same spot of the plant. You will have bald rhubarb.
    And we all listen to our dads, right?
    Mmmmm....warm, sweetened, cooked rhubarb over vanilla ice cream.

  12. #12
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PurplePassion View Post
    That is what I heard and read, they said the leaves are poison; not to put them in the compost pile , just put them in the garbage.
    Rhubarb leaves are toxic to humans ... though not an issue when composted.
    That is, unless one is in the habit of eating dirt!

    Compost breaks down the oxalic acid quickly.
    There is no negative effect to the composting process.
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  13. #13
    Super Member JENNR8R's Avatar
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    I cut up rhubarb in a garden salad.

  14. #14
    Junior Member IraJane's Avatar
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    I grew up eating rhubarb custard pie, but my son's favorite pie is rhubarb made as a fruit pie. I use the recipe in the Betty Crocker cook book, except I leave out the orange peel and add 1/2 tsp. almond flavoring. During rhubarb season I make up pie fillings, pour each one in a separate plastic zip type bag, and place in an aluminum pie pan to freeze. Once they are frozen I take them out of the pie pan and stack. I make fresh crust, place the frozen filling in the lower crust, cover with the top crust and bake. It takes an extra 15 to 30 minutes to bake and is well worth the time. Tastes like fresh summer pie. We also put wild black raspberry and peach pie fillings in the freezer the same way. Taste especially good in the middle of the winter.

  15. #15
    Super Member damaquilts's Avatar
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    I love strawberry/rhubarb jam. When I was in VA there was a woman at the farmers market that made the best. Chunks of rhubarb in it. It's one of the few things I miss about VA Beach.

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    Quote Originally Posted by carslo View Post
    I miss rhubarb here in socal - it is very expensive to buy at the farmers market. It always grew like a weed no matter where I lived in Canada.
    I live in Florida and I miss it too! Love, love, love rhubarb pie. I always pulled the stalks. You can't believe what price they ask here $1.00 per stalk!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tartan View Post
    I guess I just have to different, I always cut my stalks leaving about an inch above the ground. I have been doing it that way for the last 40 some years and haven't killed my plants yet. My Ruby Red always comes on first in the spring. I do remove the seed heads to extend the cutting season.
    I do the same....... I have an abundance of rhubarb

  18. #18
    Super Member Snooze2978's Avatar
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    I moved my rhubarb the fall before last so I knew I could harvest last year plus we had a drought so they didn't do well. I planted my squash where the rhubarb had been and they did not do well at all. I thought I had removed any and all dead leaves, etc from the rhubarb but as I stated my squash plants did lousy in that location only. I planted some a little down the from that area and they did great so I assumed it was something left from the rhubarb plants.

    This year I have 9 plants from the original 3 I transplanted and they were doing great till it snowed here the other day. I'm worried about all my plants as they were all showing life before the snow.

    Suz in Iowa

  19. #19
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    rhubarb crisp,,, sliced rhubarb, sugar, oatmeal, cinnamon.....yum goooood !!!!!!!!!

  20. #20
    Super Member ptquilts's Avatar
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    I just today made strawberry rhubarb jam with the last of last year's rhubarb that was in the freezer. I cheat and use strawberry jello - super easy recipe and fast! Made 3 jars for me and one for my neighbor, who also gives me some of his rhubarb.

  21. #21
    Super Member sharin'Sharon's Avatar
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    I have had about all kinds of fruits I can grow here, but the ONLY jelly my kids like is mulberry-rhubarb. Whatever I pick (yes, pick---I don't shake the tree) of mulberries, I cut up twice that amount of rhubarb. Cook, run through sieve, and then make jelly from that juice. Mmmm Mmmm, good!!! Our rhubarb didn't do well last year, thinking I should maybe move them to another spot as they have been there over 50 years.

  22. #22
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    I have always been told rhubarb needs a freeze in the winter to do well. In central Arkansas that may not happen every year. I love rhubarb pie made like a fruit pie with a lot of sugar and cinnamon.....and, of course, topped with vanilla ice cream. Jokingly, I have said southerners don't know about rhubarb because they can't roll in cornmeal and fry.

  23. #23
    Super Member DogHouseMom's Avatar
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    I'm stunned at all these "rules" about Rhubarb. I've never grown it myself, but when I was a kid there was a nice large patch that was growing wild on the fence line of my neighbors house (perhaps *someone* planted it eon's ago but none of the neighbors could remember). We used to pick it as kids and snack on it (yes - raw!). We never had any idea the leaves were poisonous ... but we never ate them. In fact, we rarely finished an entire stalk when we snacked ... who could?? No-one harvested it to make anything ... we kids were the only ones picking it.

    A lot my childhood "snacking" was in the "wild". Rhubarb, green apples (great when salted!), chew on burberis leaves, and of course vegetable garden raids I used to carry a salt shaker because I never knew when a green apple or ripe red tomato would make itself available for snacking!
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  24. #24
    Super Member noveltyjunkie's Avatar
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    Rhubarb and ginger are a great match- good for jam (which I think you call jelly, but we only say jelly if all the fruit pulp is strained out)
    Fortune favours the prepared mind
    "Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler." Albert Einstein

  25. #25
    Super Member LindaR's Avatar
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    cut your leaves off and lay them under the plant to keep weeds down and for fertilizer...have done this for years
    Retired and living in NE Michigan

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