St Croix River Road Ramblings

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Sunday, May 3, 2015

Rhubarb Crisp

Today marks the first rhubarb dessert of the season! 
Recipe from Margo's mother, Myrtle Kirmse.  Margo remembers this was a favorite at their Weyerhauser cabin in the spring weekends -- her mother liked to make it for the weekend dessert. 

A sure sign summer is around the corner is the making of the first rhubarb dessert.  Mom loved rhubarb for its early season growth.  Along with parsnip and horse radish roots and dandelion greens, rhubarb was something to be savored.

Rhubarb went into pies, cobblers, crisps, bread, cake and whatever needed a tang.  Of course, we boys ate it raw -- right from the garden showing how tough we were -- able to enjoy it in its natural state.  "Sets my teeth on edge to watch you eat it," commented Uncle Buddy as he turned down a piece. 

Rhubarb provides the flavor and texture, but massive amounts of sugar are needed to tame it for a pie.  The old timers called it "pie plant" as that was their favorite use.  Here is the recipe for making rhubarb crisp.  Serves 2 - 12 and has about half a million calories per piece, but is worth it. 
Alberta and Vivian -- Granddaughter Amanda put together a recipe booklet from some of the all time favorites and used Mom's slogan as the title. 

.  The Bottoming

Hauled out most of the measuring cups to get 6-8 cups of chopped rhubarb

1/4 cup of flour and 2 cups of white sugar

2.  The topping

1 cup oatmeal, one cup brown sugar, 1 cup of flour and 1/2 cup of butter (1 stick)  

Stir until the butter disappears.  DO NOT turn the mixer on high speed

Spread all of the topping over the rhubarb and bake in a 350F oven for 1 hour.
(In metric, 153.276C for 1027658 kiloseconds -- I think) 
While the hour of baking goes on, take the leaves from your rhubarb and spread around the base of the plants.  They will return their nutrients to the ground and make a ground cover that kills the weeds. 

Each year after you tire of rhubarb and have frozen 25 cut-up packages for the winter, and faithfully broken off all of the flowering/seed stalks, it is time to fertilize the plants.  

Grandpa preferred rotted horse manure, but later had to be satisfied with rotted cow manure.  Having no animals on the farm, I have resorted to hitting the horse camp on Mondays out west on Evergreen Av where each horse camper fills the little manure kiosk with the weekend supply of  horse d'oeuvers.   This supply from the 2,312 horses hauled by our farm on Evergreen Av each Friday evening and Sunday evening to and from the Equestrian Camp would likely supply most of the gardens in Sterling for the year.  Of course you have to pile it and let it rot for a year before using it.  

The finished Crisp not only looks attractive, but the aroma of sugar laced rhubarb surely one of the best of spring!
In the olden days with the herd of Guernsey cows, the next step would be to pick a cow and run 1/4 mile behind her so you could milk out a little whipped cream for topping.

The Guernsey Cow pictured here is a professional model on a healthy diet and of legal age -- from  (a New Zealander).