How does one harvest rhubarb? This has been the question that has made me avoid doing anything with the rhubarb growing in my garden for the past three years now. Perhaps it’s a good thing that I waited, because after some online research, and a bit of help from my brother, I realized I totally would have done it all wrong.
- Harvest rhubarb from late spring through the end of summer.
- Do not harvest rhubarb in its first year. In its second year, only harvest during the first two weeks, and only select the largest stalks. During and after the third year, you can harvest one-third of the plant.
- Stalks are ready to harvest when they are a 1/2 an inch to 1 inch wide, and are showing a dark pink to maroon coloring at their base.
- Twist at the bottom of the stalk to harvest the rhubarb. At most, pick three stalks per rhubarb cluster.
- Never leave any broken stalks, because this may cause infection. Cut these stalks off with a sharp knife, as well as the tops of any stalks that have started to flower. Do not allow your rhubarb plant to flower.
- Cut the leaves off of the stalks you have harvested, and throw them away. Rhubarb leaves are poisonous, and not meant for consumption.
- When stalks are all very thin, or you have harvested one-third of the plant, discontinue harvesting for the year.
- Rhubarb is best used when fresh, but may also be frozen.
Additional Things to Note When Deciding to Grow Rhubarb:
- This plant will continue to grow back every year, and if properly taken care of, may last for twenty years. Make sure to plant the rhubarb in a location that you will be happy with long-term.
- This plant needs a lot of water; so try to plant it as close to the water source in your garden as possible, or somewhere where you will not forget to water it often.
A huge thanks to my brother for coming to my aid in my first rhubarb harvest. It’s always nice to have someone with you that carries a knife at all times for just such tasks.
- Unsalted Butter for Preparing Baking Dish
- 2 Cups Sliced Strawberries
- 2 Cups Sliced Rhubarb
- 3/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
- 3 Tablespoons Corn Starch
- 1 Teaspoon Vanilla
- 1 Tablespoon Grand Marnier
- Pinch of Salt
- 1/3 Cup Quick Cooking Rolled Oats
- 1/3 Cup All-Purpose Flour
- 1/3 Cup Oat Flour
- 1/2 Cup Light Brown Sugar
- 1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
- Pinch of Salt
- 1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter, Melted
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Butter an 8 x 8 glass baking dish; set aside.
- In a large bowl, mix the strawberries, rhubarb, granulated sugar, corn starch, vanilla, and Grand Marnier with a pinch of salt; set aside for ten minutes, stirring occasionally.
- In a medium bowl, combine the oats, all-purpose flour, oat flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and melted butter with a pinch of salt.
- Evenly spread the strawberry mixture in the glass baking dish, and then evenly top the strawberry mixture with crumbled bits of the topping using your hands.
- Bake for 45 minutes.
- Allowing the strawberry, rhubarb, and sugar mixture to set for a few minutes will allow all of the ingredients to properly meld before baking.
- You may use any type of flour in this dish that you have on hand. Normally I would have used only all-purpose flour, but at the moment I was attempting to get rid of a small bag of oat flour to make more room in my spice cabinet.
- I only had 1/3-cup of oats; had I had more on hand, I most likely would have used 1 cup in this recipe. Using an entire cup will not change any other measurements in this recipe, or add any additional baking time.
- You can purchase rhubarb at your local market or farmer’s market. Search for stalks that are very firm, like what you would look for when buying celery.
- Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
- Add the seeds of 1/2 a vanilla bean to the sugar and fruit mixture before baking.
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