fresh rhubarb from our garden

Rhubarb Season!

When we first changed over pretty much our entire, limited backyard space into a raised bed garden about four years ago, two of our first choices for what to plant in the new garden were asparagus and rhubarb.  Both of these plants are perennial and take several years to become established in your garden before you can begin harvesting from them.  So we knew that we needed to plan ahead and get started right away if we wanted to eventually enjoy fresh asparagus and rhubarb from our garden.  After watching the plants grow and expand for the first two seasons (if you start them from seeds, you need to wait an additional year but we weren’t that patient!), we were finally able to cut off the first asparagus and rhubarb stalks last year.  Woohoo!  Super exciting!  (It’s the little things, right?)  In the meantime, we had been getting a good supply of rhubarb from both our CSA and from my grandma’s garden in Western PA.  So I already had lots of ideas about what to do with the rhubarb once I got it into the kitchen.  But, just in case you don’t have a pile of rhubarb recipes hanging around your kitchen…or you want some new ones to try this year….read on….


So what do you do with rhubarb anyway?  (For starters, don’t eat the leaves.  They are poisonous!)  I feel like rhubarb is one of those foods where you either love it or hate it.  I happen to love it.  But I admit that it has a very tart flavor that usually needs to be combined with something sweet to balance out the flavors.  If you’ve seen rhubarb at the grocery store or farmer’s market and wondered what in the world it could be used for…here are four of my favorite ways to use rhubarb in a recipe at this time of year.  Also, since rhubarb is only in season for a small percentage of the year, I usually take all that I can get and then chop up the extra and freeze it in quart-size Ziploc bags so that I can pull it out of the freezer and use it all year long in muffin or dessert recipes. 


Rhubarb Muffins: A classic favorite in our house.  (I actually have about four different rhubarb muffin recipes that I like to make so it was difficult to narrow it down to just one for this post!)


Rhubarb Sauce: Similar to applesauce but a bit more tart so it helps to serve it with something sweet, such as with ice cream for dessert or maybe in your oatmeal for breakfast with some sliced strawberries.  It comes from one of my all-time favorite seasonal cookbooks: Simply in Season, by Mary Beth Lind and Cathleen Hockman-Wert.  Also, this is another great example of a way to preserve your rhubarb for later in the year because it freezes very well.


Rhubarb Mint Iced Tea: A simple, refreshing recipe to make and keep in your fridge for when you want to cool down and relax after digging in the garden under the hot sun all afternoon.  Rhubarb is very high in vitamin C so you can consider this a yummy way to take your vitamins and stay healthy!


Strawberry-Rhubarb Sangria: If you needed a reason to throw an early summer party or are looking for a recipe to make and bring to a Memorial Day party this weekend – here it is!  You have to try this recipe!


That’s it for now…I could have kept posting rhubarb recipes all day but I thought it best to control the madness.  If you have a favorite rhubarb recipe that is not included here, please share the love! 

I hope you enjoy this beautiful, rejuvenating time of year and try a new recipe or two!


Rhubarb Muffins
  1. 2 ½ cups whole wheat flour
  2. ¾ cup ground flax
  3. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  4. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  5. ½ teaspoon salt
  6. 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  7. 1 egg, beaten
  8. 1 cup yogurt
  9. ½-3/4 cup honey*
  10. ¼ cup applesauce
  11. 2 teaspoons vanilla
  12. 1 ½ cups rhubarb (fresh or frozen**), diced
  13. ½ cup nuts (pecans or walnuts), toasted and chopped
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Combine dry ingredients (flour through cinnamon) in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, add the wet ingredients (egg through vanilla) and whisk together. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until just moistened. Stir in rhubarb and nuts. Spoon batter into greased muffin cups or liners.
  3. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from pans and cool on wire racks. Enjoy!
  1. *Sometimes I heat up the honey a bit first to allow it to flow more freely and combine better with the other wet ingredients.
  2. **If you are using frozen rhubarb, allow to thaw first and drain any excess liquid.
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Rhubarb Sauce
  1. 4 cups rhubarb
  2. ½ cup honey
  3. 1 Tablespoon tapioca
  4. 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  1. Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan. Let stand for 10 minutes or until some juice forms. Heat slowly to boiling. Cool and serve or store in the refrigerator or freezer until you are ready to use.
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Rhubarb Mint Iced Tea
  1. 8 stalks rhubarb, cut into 3-inch lengths
  2. 8 cups water
  3. 1/3 cup honey
  4. 8 large sprigs mint, plus extra for garnish
  1. In a large saucepan, combine rhubarb and water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes. Add mint sprigs and simmer for another 30 minutes. Strain the liquid and stir in honey to dissolve. Allow to cool. Serve over ice with a sprig of mint. Enjoy!
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Strawberry-Rhubarb Sangria
  1. ¼ cup honey or maple syrup
  2. ½ cup water
  3. 2 rhubarb stalks, cut into ½-inch pieces
  4. ½ cup fresh squeezed orange juice
  5. 1 orange, halved and sliced
  6. 2 cups strawberries, hulled and quartered
  7. 1 bottle (750 ml) chilled sparkling wine, such as Prosecco
  1. In a small saucepan, combine honey or maple syrup with water. Bring to a boil and add rhubarb. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. (Transfer to a heatproof bowl, if necessary, to cool faster.)
  2. Meanwhile, in a pitcher or large bowl, combine orange juice, orange slices, and strawberries. To serve, add cooled rhubarb mixture, sparkling wine, and ice. Enjoy!
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homemade spinach and sausage frittata with fresh eggs from our chickens

April showers bring…Spring Recipes!!

Spring is here!  While we nearly got washed away by about 3-4″ of rain this week, we are still so happy that spring has finally sprung.  I get so excited about the arrival of spring, even more so now that we try to eat seasonally and locally as much as possible.  Even with canning and freezing as many summer fruits and vegetables as we can, we are usually tired of winter soups and stews and the general lack of fresh foods by the time March rolls around, especially after the winter that we just had.  So once the weather turns warmer, I start counting the days until we will have fresh asparagus, spinach, leeks, rhubarb….mmmm!


One of my all-time favorite spring recipes (or just anytime recipe, really) is a frittata.  I think the idea of a frittata is too often overlooked or underused as a family dinner.  I love to make frittatas for three reasons:  I can use our fresh eggs, the recipe is fairly simple and quick to make on a weeknight, and the recipe is super flexible and I can always come up with a yummy version with whatever I have on hand that day.  The basic steps are as follows:


  1. Start by cooking the meat in the pan (bacon, sausage, ham…)
  2. Remove the meat and cook any garlic, onions, leeks, potatoes, or other vegetables in the same pan
  3. Add fresh greens on top and cook gently to wilt (spinach, chard, kale…)
  4. Pour your egg mixture on top (eggs, milk or cream, cheese, salt and pepper, fresh herbs…)
  5. Top with extra cheese, if desired, and cook/bake until set
  6. Enjoy!!


Below is a full recipe to follow if you want to give it a try. As you can see, this recipe can be made with ALL local ingredients, which I love!!


Sausage and Spinach Frittata
  1. *8 large eggs*
  2. *1/4 cup heavy cream*
  3. 2 tablespoons olive oil (or substitute *bacon fat* or *lard* from a local butcher or farmer!)
  4. *3/4 pound mild Italian sausages*
  5. *1/2 cup green onions (or leeks)*, minced
  6. *3/4 pound fresh spinach*, chopped
  7. *1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese*
  8. (*local ingredients*)
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Beat eggs with heavy cream until smooth. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Set aside.
  3. In a large ovenproof skillet, heat half of the olive oil over moderately high heat. Remove the sausage from its casing and cook, breaking the sausage up into small pieces, until browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
  4. Add remaining olive oil (if necessary) and return skillet to moderate heat. Cook the onions for about 2 minutes and then add spinach, tossing constantly, until softened, about 2 more minutes. Stir the sausage back in the skillet. Pour egg mixture on top of sausage and spinach and cook over moderate heat for 1 minute. Gently lift the edge of the frittata and tilt the pan, allowing some of the uncooked egg to seep underneath. Cook until the bottom and sides are barely set, about 3-5 minutes.
  5. Sprinkle with goat cheese and bake until the eggs are set and the top of the frittata is lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Slide the frittata onto a large plate, cut into wedges and serve hot or warm.
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If you are like me, and love the fresh flavors that the new season brings, here are some other great ways to use seasonal ingredients or fire up the grill this spring. 

  •  Spring Abundance Bowl – again, this is another great basic recipe where you can substitute any seasonal ingredients that you have on hand that day – easy to make, super yummy, and can be different every time you make it! (By the way, the pickled radishes in Sarah’s post are also easy and delicious on their own. My 4-year old son helped me to make a batch for our family Easter dinner and we loved them!  Our kids have pretty diverse palettes, but even we never imagined our kids eating radishes, so you can imagine how tasty these are…)
  • Burgers on the grill – we love this simple recipe from the book, Make the Bread, Buy the Butter, by Jennifer Reese: For every pound of ground chuck, add:
    • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
    • Pinch of cayenne pepper
    • 1/3 cup bread crumbs (more to come on how to make your own later…)
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • Pinch of black pepper
    • 1 large egg
  •  And of course there is a pizza recipe…we love homemade pizza!  Here is a great one for spring…

homemade pizza with spinach, caramelized onion, and bacon

Spinach, Caramelized Onion, and Bacon Pizza
  1. 1 batch of your favorite whole wheat dough recipe (I make mine in the bread maker)
  2. *6 bacon slices*, chopped
  3. *10 oz fresh spinach*
  4. *2 cups onion*, sliced
  5. pinch of salt
  6. *2 teaspoons honey*
  7. *1 Tablespoon butter*
  8. *2 garlic cloves*, minced
  9. 3 Tablespoons wheat flour
  10. 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  11. *1 cup whole milk*
  12. 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  13. (*local ingredients*)
  1. To prepare toppings, cook bacon in a skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan and set aside. Add spinach leaves to bacon fat in pan and sauté 2 minutes or until wilted. Remove spinach from pan and try to remove any excess liquid by pressing in a strainer or squeezing in a towel, if necessary. Add onions, a pinch of salt, and honey to the pan and cook for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and cool.
  2. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add flour and pepper and cook, stirring with a whisk, for about 30 seconds. Gradually add the milk, stirring constantly with the whisk. Cook for 5 minutes more or until thick and bubbly, still stirring constantly with the whisk.
  3. Place pizza stone in oven (I highly recommend a pizza stone!) and preheat to 425°F about a half hour before you are ready to bake the pizza.
  4. Roll dough out on a floured surface to desired shape. Crimp edges of dough with fingers to make a crust, if desired. (Optional: I like to prebake my crust for 3 minutes before adding the toppings.)
  5. Spread milk mixture evenly over dough and top with cooked spinach and caramelized onion. Sprinkle evenly with bacon and cheese. Bake an additional 7 minutes or until golden brown.
  1. If you are not using a pizza stone, you will want to heat the oven to 475°F, spread the dough onto an oiled baking sheet, and bake for much longer, probably around 20 minutes. But seriously, the pizza stone is well worth the investment!
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Every night at the dinner table, our family sings a short prayer that begins with these words: “Thank you, Lord, for happy hearts and rain and sunny weather.” In spring, I am especially thankful for each of those things. May you enjoy the spring weather and have happy hearts today and every day!