Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Why You Should Grow And Preserve Rhubarb!

Rhubarb is an excellent addition to any garden! Being that rhubarb is a perennial, you can get a crop every year and fill your refrigerator/freezer with its deliciousness.

I was blessed to grow up with a mother that loved rhubarb and canned it into jams. I was doubly blessed to move on to a farm that has it growing abundantly.

Why Should You Grow Rhubarb?

1. Rhubarb is very easy to grow. Get some plants from a garden center or find a neighbor/friend willing to thin out their patch. Plant your rhubarb in a sunny location and fertilize with some well-rotted manure. Do not pick the first year, only pick the thick stalks the second year, and pick all you want the third year!

2. Rhubarb is easy to maintain. Rhubarb just needs a sunny location and adequate moisture. You do not have to dig it up in the fall because it likes to have its roots frozen in the winter. Give the rhubarb some well-rotted manure in the spring or fall to help fertilize it, but this is not necessary every year.

3. Rhubarb gives hope that Spring and Summer are here to stay. Rhubarb is one of the first vegetables ready to eat in the Spring in Iowa. I love having fresh vegetables coming from my garden early and often.

You should not eat rhubarb leaves, The leaves contain a poison that will make you very sick. I have been hearing of varities that have edible leaves, but most common rhubarb plant leaves are not edible. Just eat the stalks!

Rhubarb used to be planted in every yard. You can find it in abandoned properties as well as your neighbor's yard. Most people who grow it have more than they need and are very willing to share it. If you are not able to grow it, just ask around!

Rhubarb is very easy to harvest! You can either cut the stalks close to the ground or just twist the stalk and pull (preferred method). Cut the leaves off and add to your compost pile. Rinse the rhubarb off to get any dirt and grass clippings off.

How Do You Eat And Preserve Rhubarb?

1. Some people like it raw, like my son. Too much raw rhubarb can result in upset stomachs though. I remember as a kid that we would pick it and dip the end in sugar, take a bite, and repeat. Again, too much is not a good thing.

2. Rhubarb can and should be made into pies, crisps, cobblers, cakes, fritters, tarts, and whatever dessert/breakfast goodie you can think of. Rhubarb is versitile like that. I have also had it made into compotes, sauces, and chutneys. Again, deliciousness!

3. Rhubarb can and should be canned in the form of jams, jellies, chutneys, and sauces. Rhubarb is very simple to can and is very forgiving. Rhubarb is a great item for a first time canner to try! Rhubarb Jam is the first jam I learned how to make!

4. Rhubarb can be frozen. Pick your rhubarb, rinse it off, and chop into 1/2-1 inch pieces. I use my Food Saver, load the bags with 2-3 cups of rhubarb, and vacuum/seal. You can also flash freeze by laying the rhubarb in a single layer on cookie sheets, freeze, and then put into bags and store in the freezer. Either way works. I just don't recommend putting them in bags and freezing. I usually end up with freezer burnt rhubarb.

Rhubarb is so easy as you can see! Rhubarb makes a great addition to your garden in ease of growing and producing food for yourself and your family. I hope you add this great vegetable to your homestead today!

Thanks for reading!

This article is part of the:

30 Ways of Homesteading

The Prepared Bloggers Network is at it again! We're glad you've found us, because the month of April is all about homesteading.

Homesteading is a lifestyle of self-sufficiency. It is characterized by growing your own food, home preservation of foodstuffs, and it may even involve the small scale production of textiles, clothing, and craftwork for household use or sale. Most importantly homesteading is not defined by where someone lives, such as the city or the country, but by the lifestyle choices they make.

The Prepared Bloggers are passionate about what they do and they each have their own way of achieving self-sufficiency. Grab your favorite drink and enjoy reading about the 30 Ways of Homesteading!

Crops on the Homestead

Straw Bale Gardening from PreparednessMama
Benefits of Growing Fruit from SchneiderPeeps
Crops to Grow for Food Storage from Grow A Good Life
Winter Gardening Series from Our Stoney Acres
How To Build a Raised Garden Bed For Under $12 from Frugal Mama and The Sprout
How to Save Carrot Seeds from Food Storage and Survival

Animals on the Homestead

Getting Your Bees Started from Game and Garden
Homesteading How-To: Bees from Tennessee Homestead
How to Get Ready for Chicks from The Homesteading Hippy
Selecting a Goat Breed for Your Homestead from Chickens Are a Gateway Animal
Adding New Poultry and Livestock from Timber Creek Farm
How to Prepare for Baby Goats from Homestead Lady
Tips to Raising Livestock from Melissa K. Norris

Making the Homestead Work for You - Infrastructure

DIY Rainwater Catchment System from Survival Prepper Joe
Finding Our Homestead Land from Simply Living Simply
I Wish I Was A Real Homesteader by Little Blog on the Homestead
Endless Fencing Projects from Pasture Deficit Disorder
Homesteading Legal Issues from The 7 P's Blog

Preserving and Using the Bounty from the Homestead

How to Make Soap from Blue Yonder Urban Farms
How to Render Pig Fat from Mama Kautz
How to Make Your Own Stew Starter from Homestead Dreamer
Why You Should Grow and Preserve Rhubarb! from Living Life in Rural Iowa

30 Ways of Homesteading

Check out all these great articles with great tips for your homestead, large and small!

Also linked to: Homemade Mondays!


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