Friday, May 22, 2015

Rhubarb....love it or hate it?....47* and partly cloudy

Rhubarb ...either you love it or hate it, there just doesn't seem to be much in between on this subject, I've seen many on-line debates about this!

First the technical bits:
The word "rhubarb" takes its name from the Latin rha barbarum. Rhubarb grew along the banks of the river Rha,  Back then, the region was considered foreign, or barbarian territory.
So,rhubarb literally means "from the barbarian, Rha."
The leaves are considered poisonous since they contain high levels of oxalic acid, the stalks contain it too but in much smaller quantities.
Classified as a Zone 2-9 plant, rhubarb prefers a cool, damp climate, and it struggles in a dry or hot one.
(((We are in zone 6 here so should be right in the middle of it's happy place , but we have good years and bad, this year it is producing fairly well, must be all the cool and damp we've been having! )))

according to Wikipedia ----
"Rhubarb is usually considered a vegetable . In the United States, however, a New York court decided in 1947 that since it was used in the United States as a fruit, it counted as a fruit for the purposes of regulations and duties. A side effect was a reduction on imported rhubarb tariffs, as tariffs were higher for vegetables than fruits." 

Have you ever heard it called "Pieplant"??  This depends greatly on where you live, I think. but it is in Mariam Websters online dictionary -Definition of PIEPLANT garden rhubarb, first known use 1838
It is thought to have made it's way to the US in 1820 or there about coming first to the east coast and moving west with the pioneers.
Laura Ingalls Wilder refers to rhubarb as "pie plant" in  her book The First Four Years.

Even if you love rhubarb you have to admit it is sour at best.........requiring plenty of sugar and or combination with a sweeter fruit such as strawberries. In fact it seems you almost always see rhubarb and strawberries combined, this could be because they ripen at the same time in most places or because the sweetness of the strawberries help balance the tartness of  the rhubarb.............. some would say it's a shame to 'waste' good strawberries by combining it with rhubarb, while others can't wait to for spring to have the wonderful 'sweet-tart' combination of strawberry-rhubarb pie, muffins, cobbler or jam.
Where do you stand??   Rhubarb delicious pie plant or Rhubarb-keep it out of my kitchen
we'd love to hear your comments below and join us tomorrow for a delicious (we think) recipe for Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler

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