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Weird plant life – No, if you are gardeners or farmers you will probably

recognizethat the shoots coming out of the ground with this fantastic red

color are rhubarb.

Michigan is one of the largest producers of rhubarb and it is even

forced in greenhouses here for winter harvesting. Some say that

Michigan and Canadian rhubarb tastes the best.


The rhubarb plant or “pie plant” as it is also known, can be

harvested all summer. The plant is originally from Asia, a relative

of the buckwheat familyand is loved by Japanese beetles who will literally

strip the leaves bare, if allowedto feast. Ironically, the leaves are

poisonous to humans, so be sure to just eat the stalks.

The rhubarb plant is also a heavy feeder and will thrive with lots of

compost orcow manure dressing in the spring and fall. The flower stalks

should be removedif you plan on harvesting.

We love rhubarb pie, warm rhubarb sauce, rhubarb bars, and it also

makes a great quickbread for breakfast. It is a snap to freeze

[just wash, cut up and put it into freezer bags].

The recipes to use rhubarb are many and varied including jam, wine,

drinks,salads. The most common companion in cooking is the strawberry.

Rhubarb is loaded with vitamin C and fiber.

It is so popular that there are 10 Rhubarb Festivals around the

world according to the Rhubarb Compendium.

rhubarb pie

And Wikipedia toasts rhubarb pie in our culture:

Bebop-a-reebop Rhubarb Pie and Bebop-a-reebop

Frozen Rhubarb Pie Filling are frequent fictional sponsors

of A PrairieHome Companion.

Children’s song artist Laurie Berkner sings about the

dessertin “Rhubarb Pie (Hot Commodity)”.

In the Weird Al” Yankovic song, “The Biggest Ball of Twine in Minnesota,”

“Mama’s homemade rhubarb pie” is one of the things the family takes with

them on their trip.”

Since rhubarb is a large, long living perennial here in Kent County

Michigan, it can be used in the landscape as a decorative plant.

Landscape plants that double as food are green sustainablilty

at its best.

Rhubarb will be on the local menus here in Grand Rapids, soon.

rhubarb plant parts

Copyright by Bonnie Westbrook 2008

photo by Bonnie Westbrook rhubarb parts from rhubarb pie photo from wikipedia

Grand Rapids Photos


April 2008
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