How We Use Rhubarb

This crop is one we always have an abundance of but rarely asked for.

One entire end of our garden is full of rhubarb that is harvested three or four times each year. Most people don’t like it because it so sour. I’ve learned a couple of tricks since we started raising it that makes it hard to turn down.

I use the leaves which are huge on the plant are cut off and reintroduced into the patch to keep the weeds down like a mulch. They are poisonous, the substances present in the plant leaves are oxalic acid and anthraquinone glycosides. The stalks and roots are not poisonous.

Now, how to cook them. Cut the stalks into one-inch cubes after you have thoroughly washed them. Put in a pan with just enough water to keep them from burning, very little water (1/4 inch, at most) and cook over medium heat and watch carefully. When fully cooked add about two cups of sugar and stir to dissolve. Now here’s the trick, add your favorite box of flavored gelatin and stir to incorporate. We love strawberry or raspberry but have used grape and blackberry as well. The gelatin thickens the rhubarb and adds a wonderful flavor. It’s wonderful addition to our morning breakfast, on hot biscuits like jelly, also unique in a rollup cake!

If friends and neighbors want some this spring let me know because we have a lot in the freezer. We didn’t share a lot because we were only allowing family on the farm due to Covid. If friends will contact me, I’ll cut it and leave in bags for drive up delivery at the end of the driveway!!! I’ll be posting when it’s available.

This was our first setting and now the entire end of the garden is full of rhubarb. This photo shows it half grown for the first harvest of the spring.

Author: countrygirllifeonthefarm

I am a wife, mother, and grandmother that lives on a farm in Craig County, Virginia and I am retired. I love to cook, read, quilt, craft, garden, hunt and take long walks in the woods. I have one gorgeous teen granddaughter, a wonderful little grandson and two beautiful and caring children, boy & girl. I've been married to my farmer husband for 46 years and he's the "love of my life"!! I love doing things the "old" way such as canning, making maple syrup & cider, handcrafts and baking. I've taught myself to crochet, embroider, and quilt with help from my paternal grandmother. I could read until the cows come home. We live off the products we raise and hunt for the most part. We run 75 head of cattle on our farm, 30 chickens, three rabbits and one dog. I help my husband with the cattle, feeding the livestock, hauling in firewood, fence repair, and general maintenance on the farm. I was a stay-at-home mom to my children and then went to work when they finished high school. I was a cook at a School for At-Risk Teens and part-time substitute teacher. Then I started work at our local Farm Bureau and stayed there for 17 years. I worked at Virginia Tech for almost five years and decided to take early retirement in July of 2015. NOW, I'm a full-time farmwife and loving every minute of it! I love to read fiction and the Bible. I'm currently hooked on quilting novels and Annie's Attic mysteries. I started this blog in 2011 and have met so many interesting bloggers and have kept up with my friends through my blog. I love to hunt with my bow and rifle and with a camera. We hunt to fill the freezer and cellar but would never kill anything for the fun of it. I have friends and family all over the United States. Some of my ancestry last names are Bradley, Dickson, Hylton, and Rose. I've lost both of my parents to brain cancer and miss them very much. I have one sister and four living brothers. I was raised in Paint Bank VA and moved to New Castle VA when I married. I went to school in Waiteville, WV, Gap Mills, WV and New Castle Va with a short semester of college at Virginia Western Community College in Roanoke VA.

5 thoughts on “How We Use Rhubarb”

  1. The rhubarb that I grow is the same that my great grandfather gave me before I was in kindergarten. I believe that it is the common ‘Victoria’ sort, but I am not certain. I do not care. It is the only one I need, although I may add another cultivar that appeared at work. My Mother made the most excellent rhubarb pies as my Pa liked them, and as his grandmother made them, without any added fruit. It seems weird to me that all other rhubarb pies are made with apple, strawberry or other mild fruit, because some people believe that rhubarb is too tart. It is supposed to be tart! I do not know how to cook much, and I have no idea what compotes are, but I would like to make compotes with rhubarb, even if I must add other fruit with pectin. I believe that I could collect some rhubarb late, at the same time that early crabapples become available. Heck, I could get a bit of rhubarb even later, when the quince are ready. Rhubarb can be available at weird times here.


  2. I’ve never heard of being able to keep harvesting rhubarb all season long. But I suppose that’s because as soon as something else is ripe we move on to that. Worth knowing! One of the few desserts I make rather than buy is rhubarb crisp. Yum. As you say, add some sugar and away you go! Rhubarb- strawberry pie is really popular here. Rhubarb is right up there with zucchini as produce that they always have in an over-abundance. Plenty left for this former gardener!


    1. Here as soon as we pull off the stalks, they grow back within about two months. When I’ve finished harvesting all we need for the year, I let it go to seed. The stalks start to die off on their own at the end of the season.
      I love rhubarb pie and crisp w/ice cream, please!! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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