I’d like to tell you that our rhubarb plants are producing enough for our needs – not that anyone “needs” rhubarb – but I wanted to make rhubarb jam and rhubarb pie and put some in the freezer for making rhubarb pies in the middle of winter. Who doesn’t “need” a taste of spring in the middle of a blizzard?
We brought two rhubarb plants with us when we moved from New Jersey. Yep…dug them up from our garden, put them in a big bucket of dirt and loaded them into the back of the moving truck. They survived the move, but the stalks they produce are skinny. I don’t know if it’s the variety, or maybe they need a hefty dose of fertilizer – but the harvest has been downright puny. We bought a few more rhubarb crowns at the garden supply store and planted them next to theses expat plants. They are beginning to come up, but they have a ways to go before I can harvest those stalks – in fact, it will probably be next year, or the year after. What’s a girl to do?
I went back to Highland Orchards. I had taken my kids there more than 30 years ago for picking things like blueberries and cherries (did you know that picking cherries requires climbing trees – and throwing out the cherry-stained clothes, but the kids had a great time). They also have rhubarb for the picking. It’s only a small patch – I guess rhubarb is not a big “pick-your-own” fruit (actually, it’s a vegetable – which may explain why people are confused about whether to pick it or not). We were the only ones in the rhubarb patch – pulling stalks to our hearts content. I pulled the stalks; Chris lopped off the leaves (which are poisonous – and may be another reason why no one else was in a hurry to pick rhubarb).
We came home with about six pounds of beautiful, plump, red rhubarb stalks. Chris chopped them up – I made the jam, and the pie – and packed enough bags of rhubarb in the freezer to quench that craving in January or February when I need a taste of spring.