By Jenny Spring
Rhubarb season is here! Like spinach, Rhubarb grows really well here in Muskoka. It is a perennial, so plant it once and you can harvest every spring. It also freezes very well. Harvest right now, cut it in cubes and store it in zip lock bags for the winter.
- Rhubarb plants are heavy feeders so they need lots of food (compost or aged manure).
- Before planting, eliminate all perennial weeds.
- Choose a site that is well-drained, fertile, and preferably in full sunlight.
- Plant one-year rhubarb crowns in early spring as soon as the ground is workable, when the roots are still dormant and before growth begins or plants are just beginning to leaf out.
- Rhubarb can also be planted in the fall after dormancy has set in.
- Rhubarb plants need a large hole for its roots to grow. Dig large bushel basket-size holes. Space rhubarb plants about 4 feet apart and plant the roots 1 to 2 inches below the surface of the soil.
- Be sure to mix compost, rotted manure, or anything high in organic matter in the soil. Rhubarb plants are heavy feeders and need this organic matter.
Rhubarb Lentil Curry
- 1 large sweet potato
- 1 cup lentils
- 2 cups of water
- 1 cup of coconut milk
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 stalk (or 2) of rhubarb (diced into small pieces)
- 1/2 of 1 red bell pepper (diced into small pieces)
- 2 cups cooked spinach, chopped finely
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tbsp of mustard seeds
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- 1/4 tsp fennel seeds
- 1 tbsp minced ginger
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 1 tbsp cumin
- 1 tbsp coriander
- 1 tbsp turmeric
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- salt to taste
- Chop sweet potatoes, bell peppers and rhubarb in small cubes.
- Toss sweet potato in maple syrup and bake at 425°F for 20 minutes.
- In a pan, dice onions, garlic, ginger on medium/low heat with a splash of olive oil.
- Sauté with red pepper flakes, fennel seeds, cumin, coriander, turmeric and mustard seeds until seeds have popped.
- Add peppers and rhubarb. Sauté for a few minutes.
- Rinse lentils and add them to the mix.
- Add water. Turn heat up until water boils and then turn down to simmer. Cook until lentils are cooked. Once lentils are cooked, then add coconut milk, sweet potatoes, spinach and salt to taste.
- Serve with rice if you wish
- 4 cups sliced rhubarb (about 4 large stalks)
- 1 splash of maple syrup (or sugar)
- 1 cup water
- 4 fresh mint leaves
- Juice from 1 large lime
- 2 oz rhubarb syrup
- 1 oz white rum
- Club soda
- Rhubarb slices, for garnish (optional)
- Mint leaves, for garnish (optional)
- To make the syrup, bring rhubarb, sugar or maple syrup, and water to a boil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20-25 minutes until rhubarb has broken down and mixture has thickened. Strain through a fine mesh sieve and transfer the strained syrup to a jar. Seal and store in the fridge for up to 5 weeks.
- To make the mojitos, muddle mint leaves and lime juice in a highball glass. Fill glass with ice, then add the rhubarb syrup, rum, and top with club soda. Garnish with fresh mint leaves and a slice of rhubarb, if desired.
Jenny Spring and Oliver Wolfe are co-owners of The Spring Farm with Andrea and Brian Currie. Each week, Jenny will share a recipe featuring in-season, Muskoka-grown produce from their local farm, which is just five kilometres from downtown Huntsville. She’ll also share a gardening tip about the chosen vegetable. You can find these vegetables and more at the Huntsville Farmers’ market on Thursdays after Victoria Day in the Canadian Tire parking lot, or at The Spring Farm gate on Bethune Road North starting in June.
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