Monday, September 20, 2010

Freecycle Rhubarb

On Saturday I got a call from someone on Freecycle ( They had rhubarb in their yard that they didn't want to harvest. (If you haven't heard about Freecycle, it is a network made up of almost 5,000 groups in different areas in the US. If you have something you don't want you post it on Freecycle, and someone in your area who does want it will respond, come by, and pick it up.)

Son1 not only loves raspberry-rhubarb pie, he loves to make it!

I grabbed Vet2Be and his best friend, Taco, and headed over to the next town to harvest the rhubarb.

We ended up with 4 buckets full of stalks and leaves. I sent two buckets with Taco because his mom, Sheepy, preserves pretty much anything, but she hadn't ever done rhubarb. She's always up to trying something new, too. She's one of those down-to-earth, great friends that I have learned so much from.

The rhubarb wasn't quite ripe according to the pictures I found on the internet. But the house was about 20 minutes away from where we live so I decided to harvest it anyway and see what happens when we do the cooking later on.

Here's what I found on the internet about harvesting rhubarb. Harvest late spring through the end of summer. Take a stem near the base, twist and pull gently until it separates from the plant. We used a knife to cut ours, but the source on the internet says that gently twisting and pulling will invigorate the roots. (Wikihow)

My two buckets of rhubarb. It took Vet2Be, Taco, and I about 10 minutes to cut 4 buckets full of rhubarb.
Leaves trimmed, stalks washed, sitting in my farm sink. Rhubarb leaves contain oxalic acid and are poisonous, throw them in the garbage. 
Cut into 1" pieces.
Packaged and sealed. I put about 3 cups of cut rhubarb into each bag. Then labeled them and tossed them in the freezer. Son1's recipe calls for 2 cups of rhubarb in a pie. I was able to put 11 packages of rhubarb in the freezer.
I haven't preserved as much food as Sheepy has, but I've done some over the years. This was the fastest, easiest preserving I have ever done. I think it took me about 2 hours total, and that included driving 20 minutes away to get the rhubarb.

If you have a really old recipe book, you will notice that there are recipes that call for 'pie-plant'. That's the old name for rhubarb.

Here is Son1's recipe for Raspberry-Rhubarb Pie. Sometimes he uses frozen mixed berries instead of raspberries.

This is Grandma T's Best Pie Crust recipe. I've been using it for years. Amounts in parenthesis are for a bigger batch of dough. I'd much rather have a little extra than not enough, so I usually use the larger recipe

  • 2 1/2 cups flour (3 1/4 cups)
  • 1/2 teasp salt (3/4 teasp)
  • 1 cup shortening or lard (1 1/2 cup)
  • 1 beaten egg (1 beaten egg)
  • 1/4 cup liquid--milk or water (1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons)
  • 1 Tablespoon vinegar (1 1/2 Tablespoons vinegar)
  • 1/4 cup sugar - optional (1/3 cup sugar)


  1. Mix flour, salt, and shortening with a pastry blender until crumbly.
  2. Mix liquids well in another bowl.
  3. Make a well in the flour mixture and add liquid.
  4. Mix until dough is moist.
  5. Divide dough into two balls (one for the bottom and one for the top).


  • 3 cups rhubarb cut into 1" pieces
  • 3 cups raspberries (frozen or fresh)
  • 1 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon butter


  1. Mix sugar and cornstarch in a large bowl until combined.
  2. Add rhubarb and mix well. Let it sit for about 10 minutes.
  3. Mix in the raspberries (or mixed berries).

Pour the filling into a 9" prepared pie crust, dot with butter. Cover with the top crust.

Bake at 450˚F for 15 minutes. Then reduce the heat to 325˚F for 30 more minutes or until the pie is golden brown. It will often take longer if the fruit is frozen when put into the pie shell.

I found out last night that I have a neighbor who has lots of rhubarb and would love to share, so next week I'll be harvesting some more! Yay!

And he said that if I wanted a plant he would be happy to divide one and let me plant it in my yard. Sweet! Well.... sour really. Either way, Son1 will be excited to have more rhubarb in the freezer and a rhubarb plant in our own garden!

If you have a recipe for raspberry-rhubarb jam, send it along, I'd love to try it. The other rhubarb recipe I have heard is yummy is rhubarb-applesauce!


Marie said...

Yummie!!! That has made me hungry!
Just have to say I saw your blog from the interview you did about making cheese with the New England Cheesemaking Supply blog and have been following you ever since. Just love your blog!

TJ said...

Thanks so much Marie!

Do you make cheese, too?

Melanie said...

Thats great! Ive never heard of Freecycle so I checked it out. It said to come back later? Is it down often?

Marie said...

I have made cheese once. I don't have a source of milk that is close to me. So I am waiting to 'go that direction' to get some more milk.
I did buy some Icelandic sheep in July and can't wait until next spring to start milking them! They won't have anywhere near the volume you have with your goats, but I have heard their milk is great for making cheese.

TJ said...

Melanie, I haven't had trouble getting onto Freecycle. Try doing a google search instead of using my link. That might work better from your computer.

Marie, Icelandic Sheep! How great! Let me know how the milk tastes and how the cheesemaking goes. We have Navajo Churro. We use them for meat. They are a heritage breed so they are really easy to care for.

Apricot said...

Funny to see this...I grew rhubarb from seed once, at my old house. This summer I found an unusual "weed" in my flowerbox & finally decided it was a volunteer rhubarb! Your pics confirmed.

TJ said...

Apricot, glad I could help :-) And I hope you enjoy your rhubarb!