Rhubarb (the ultimate early season treat)

My great aunt recalls how nice it was on the farm after a long winter of preserved vegetables to bite into fresh rhubarb crisp.  I can agree with that wholeheartedly since the majority of our dinners were made from the freezer or root cellar.  I am proud that we were able to put up so much food.  However, cutting the stalks from Aunt Donna’s large rounds of rhubarb and taking them home made me feel like I had struck it rich.

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I took some of it to the farmer’s market to sell.  It did all sell, but there were quite a few folks who recognized it but had no clue what to do with it.  It can be used in place of any fruit that requires more sugar.  It’s a sour little bugger but very refreshing when made into rhubarb pie.  Or compote.  Or jam.  Or syrup.  This year I made Doug a rhubarb pie with homemade ice cream from yet another Amish cookbook I may have bought.  (Seriously, how many cookbooks does one farmgirl need?)

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The best is a rhubarb crisp, oh, around Christmas time!  So, I need to preserve some as well.  I have canned rhubarb and it is quite good, however my aunt’s suggestion (as usual) is best.  Chop the rhubarb in half inch pieces, remove any unruly strings, and place in freezer bag.  I freeze four cups of rhubarb with one cup of sugar together in each quart bag.

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Rhubarb is fleeting, you don’t have long to harvest it before it goes to seed or grows tough.  So, if you haven’t already, track down your dearest friend or nearest relative and get you some rhubarb!

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My Rhubarb Crisp

Put 4 cups of chopped rhubarb mixed with one cup of white or brown sugar, and 2 Tablespoons of flour in a pie or baking dish.

Top with 1/2 cup of brown sugar, 1/2 cup of flour with 4 Tablespoons of butter squeezed in with fingers until pea sized, a sprinkling of pecans, and a dash of cinnamon or cardamom.

Pop in the oven at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes.  The nuts will be browned, the sugar caramelized, and when you smell the delicious aroma of rhubarb, it’s done.

Enjoy one of the early season fruits….or is it a vegetable?