Tag Archives: Rhubarb

Rhubarb Pudding Time


RHUBARBOne of my spring rites is making rhubarb pudding from the plants that have grown along the garden wall since well before my time, and I’ve lived here for several decades.  I’ve added some of the new, deeper red rhubarb plants over the years, but only one has survived.  This improved cultivar seems to lack the vigor of the old.  So I cut a few stalks from it, then return to the faithful clumps for the bulk of my harvest.  Today was my first pilgrimage to the rhubarb patch and I returned to the kitchen with a goodly supply of stalks.  Now the pudding is chilling in the fridge in the big brown and white pottery bowl I’ve had for ages.

I love this stuff.  Not everyone does. Rhubarb may be an acquired taste, but many of our little people like it, and young children haven’t had much of an opportunity to acquire a taste.

I don’t use an actual recipe because, as with many old Southern dishes, my mother-in-law taught me how to make this, and I’ve adapted it somewhat, but I’ll take a stab at a recipe for you.

(Rhubarb growing in the garden below)

Farm garden with horse and buggy going by1

Cut or purchase several good handfuls of rhubarb. The amount can vary. Chop the stems into two inch pieces and put them in a large saucepan (I use a 2-3 quart one) and barely cover with water.  Simmer, stirring frequently, until the stems are completely broken down.  Then whisk the cooked pieces until smooth.  Season with sugar to taste (I use about one to two cups depending on the amount).  Add two-three heaping tablespoons of instant tapioca (again, depending on how much liquid you’ve used) and simmer until the tiny pearls are clear. Add 2-3 tablespoons of strawberry gelatin and stir until dissolved.  Set mixture aside and chill in fridge until it sets. Add cut up strawberries if available after the pudding has cooled.

‘No matter how long the winter, spring is sure to follow.’


As drab February drags on, my thoughts turn to the shimmering promise of spring. Glorious days lie before me, filled with promise of the riches to come here in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley, I call ‘the Shire.’

“I love spring anywhere, but if I could choose I would always greet it in a garden.” ~Ruth Stout (Me too!)

spring flowers in the Shenandoah Valley

Seeds are ordered and hoarded–I have enough for a meadow–but can’t commence in my little greenhouse until the deep freeze passes. It’s only solar heated. I don’t start anything in there before March. Cruel frosts can strike us into mid-May, even later, so no tender seedlings go into the ground until the ‘Corn Planting’ moon is past, as some Algonquin tribes referred to it. Frosts often coincide with a full moon. Outside, hardy plant seeds go in the garden as soon as it’s dry enough. Not likely before March. Many lovely heirloom flowers, and some vegetables, reseed themselves freely. As do the weeds. Hardiest of the lot.

“If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant; if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.” ~Anne Bradstreet (True, Anne, but we’d rather not.)

Farm garden with horse and buggy going by1

(Mounds of rhubarb in our garden with piles of compost and buggy going past.)

Each year, I declare THIS will be the best garden ever! I’m an optimist. Whatever comes, there will be bounty and beauty despite adversity, bugs, and blight. Daughter Elise and I are researching and rethinking which organic gardening methods and aides are best. We’re big into companion planting and expanding on that theme. Also using lots of compost. If anyone has any great ideas about battling the squash vine borer, that also attacks our beloved pumpkins, please speak up. It’s enemy number one. The hoard of squash bugs are enemy number two. We’ll be planting many more herbs and flowers in among the vegetables to attract the good bugs and repel the bad, plus trying floating row covers, and an insecticidal oil from Gardens Alive. I like their products and use various ones. I will report in and let you know how we fare with our schemes and dreams.

Spring 2015

(Snowdrops in bloom from last year. In bud now)

“Every spring is the only spring — a perpetual astonishment.” ~Ellis Peters

“I think that no matter how old or infirm I may become, I will always plant a large garden in the spring. Who can resist the feelings of hope and joy that one gets from participating in nature’s rebirth?” ~Edward Giobbi

Science has never drummed up quite as effective a tranquilizing agent as a sunny spring day. ~W. Earl Hall

Early spring in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia

(The Shenandoah Valley–image by my mom)

“The naked earth is warm with Spring,

And with green grass and bursting trees

Leans to the sun’s kiss glorying,

And quivers in the sunny breeze.”
~Julian Grenfell

“In the spring I have counted one hundred and thirty-six different kinds of weather inside of four and twenty hours.” ~Mark Twain

Indeed.

(Images by Elise Trissel unless otherwise noted)

Rhubarb Pudding


One of my spring rites is making rhubarb pudding from the plants that have grown along the garden wall since well before my time, and I’ve lived here for several decades.  I’ve added some of the new, deeper red rhubarb plants over the years, but only one has survived.  This improved cultivar seems to lack the vigor of the old.  So I cut a few stalks from it, then return to the faithful clumps for the bulk of my harvest.  Today was my first pilgrimage to the rhubarb patch and I returned to the kitchen with a goodly supply of stalks.  Now the pudding is chilling in the fridge in the big brown and white pottery bowl I’ve had for ages.

I love this stuff.  Not everyone does and rhubarb may be an acquired taste, but many of our little people like it, and young children haven’t had much of an opportunity to acquire a taste.

I don’t use an actual recipe because, as with many old Southern dishes, my mother-in-law taught me how to make this, and I’ve adapted it somewhat, but I’ll take a stab at a recipe for you.

Cut or purchase several good handfuls of rhubarb. The amount can vary. Chop the stems into two inch pieces and put them in a large saucepan (I use a 2-3 quart one) and barely cover with water.  Simmer, stirring frequently, until the stems are completely broken down.  Then whisk the cooked pieces until smooth.  Season with sugar to taste (I use about one to two cups depending on the amount).  Add two-three heaping tablespoons of instant tapioca (again, depending on how much liquid you’ve used) and simmer until the tiny pearls are clear. Add 2-3 tablespoons of strawberry gelatin and stir until dissolved.  Set mixture aside and chill in fridge until it sets. Add cut up strawberries if available after the pudding has cooled.