It is rhubarb time again in the Bow Valley! Last year in my post I said to harvest by cutting the stalks. I have been corrected. You want to grab the stalk close to the ground and wiggle it loose, pulling out as much as you can. This will encourage the plant to continue to produce more stalks. You still want to cut off the leaf and put that in the compost right away.
If you want your own rhubarb plant, in the Fall or the early Spring (April around here!), find a friend who has a rhubarb plant that needs to be divided (they should be divided every 5 years or so- when the stalks seem to be less robust than they used to be). It is easiest to see the crown and buds when it has just woken up. Dig up the plant being careful not to damage the crown, and cut it apart with sharp spade, shovel or knife. Then you will have several plants. For full instructions please visit http://www.rhubarbinfo.com/propagating and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-qgehGT3Ds
Flowering: All our plants have been blooming really early this year. (they probably need dividing) While I am told flowering does not affect the taste, it does affect the production of the plant as it redirects its energy into flowers and seed production. When you see a flower stalk forming, cut it out as close to its base as you can. This can go in the compost.
Rhubarb keeps really well in the deep freeze. Wash and chop it and fill ziplock bags, according to the quantities you would need for a recipe, for example, one medium ziplockfull would be the right amount for a rhubarb crisp. Then you can enjoy this taste of summer all winter long!
To make rhubarb compote: Wash and chop your rhubarb. Put it in a saucepan with a little bit of water and sugar to taste and cook it down. You can add other berries if you like. Serve over ice cream, cake, with baked brie, or whatever else you can imagine.
Link to Audrey’s Rhubarb Sour Cream Pie http://farmbox.ca/audreys-rhubarb-pie/