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With care, Rhubarb Hits the Spot
By Gloria Troyer,
Tempt Your Palate

My dear mother Beatrice Vegso (1927-2010) lived a full life.   She was born on May 31. She was active in her church’s ‘Women’s Auxiliary’ until she was in her late 70’s. She belonged to the Lynnville Women’s Institute for many years and contributed to their cookbooks.

If you were to ask anyone what their thoughts were of my Mother they would say, “Very kind, a good friend and a great cook”.    



I can still picture her cutting rhubarb stems. In fact the last time I saw her alive she sent me home with a big bag that I froze. I couldn’t eat that rhubarb for a long time. It was as if I ate it she would be gone forever.  Crazy eh?

Anyway my Mom loved rhubarb. She liked it stewed and mashed together with fresh strawberries, used in rhubarb cake and in her ‘infamous’ rhubarb pie.

Rhubarb is considered as a fruit.  But, in fact it is the leaf stem of the rhubarb plant. Their stems can grow between 10-14 inches and ½ to 1 inch in diameter. Its color can vary from pale pink to red. 

When using rhubarb in a recipe you need to remove and discard its leaves as they contain oxalic acid which is very poisonous. Rhubarb when grown naturally is available in late Spring to early Summer.
I grew up on an idyllic hobby farm. When I was a kid my friends and I used to pick a stalk of fresh rhubarb and dip it into a palm full of white sugar. Those were the days!

My Mom’s Rhubarb Cake

1 egg
1/2 c. butter
1 1/2 c. raw rhubarb
1 1/2 c. white sugar
1c.sour milk
1 tsp. vanilla
2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Mix like other cakes and add rhubarb last.  Sprinkle top with 1/2 cup sugar and 2 tsp. cinnamon that have been mixed together. Bake 45-50 minutes depending on your oven or until a toothpick comes out clean. Sweet and simple!

To freeze rhubarb I just wash it, cut it up into 1inch pieces and put it into plastic zip lock bags. It’s useful to have and in a pinch you can make it into a delicious dessert. Another refreshing way to use rhubarb is to make it into an ice cold tea. The following recipe is a good one:

Cold Rhubarb Tea B
y Charlie Burke at the following link:
http://www.theheartofnewengland.com/food/rhubarb-tea.html
 



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