Rhubarb is easy to grow and makes a wonderful addition to strawberry pie and as the base for many jellies, desserts, sauces, and condiments. And, its delicious leaf stalks bear poisonous leaves; always discard the leaf when preparing rhubarb. A perennial, it grows from large, fleshy rhizomes. (A horizontal underground stem of some plants that sends out roots and shoots from its nodes.) In the northwestern US states of Oregon and Washington, there are typically two harvests: one from late April to May and another from late June and into July. Rhubarb is ready to be consumed as soon as it is harvested, and freshly cut stalks will be firm and glossy. Big leaves and red tinted leaf stalks are showy enough to qualify for a display spot in the garden. Preffered varieties are ‘Victoria’ (greenish stalks) ‘MacDonald’ and ‘Cherry’ (red stalks).
Come by and get your rhubarb start today!! Here’s an amazing recipe from the “Complete Book of Home Preserving”
Victorian Barbeque Sauce (makes about 4 pint jars)(a brush-on sauce)
8 cups chopped rhubarb
31/2 cups lightly packed brown sugar
11/2 cups chopped raisins
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp salt
- prepare canner, jars and lids
- In a large stainless steel saucepan, combine rhubarb, brown sugar, raisins, onion, vinegar, allspice, cinnamon, ginger and salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring frequently. Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring frequently, until mixture is thickened to the consistency of a thing commercial barbeque sauce, about 30 minutes.
- Ladle hot sauce into hot jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace, if necessary, by adding hot sauce. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip-tight.
- Place jars in canner, insuring the are completely covered with water. Bring to a boil and process fro 15 minutes. Remove canner lid. Wait 5 minutes, then remove jars, cool and store.