Well, it kind of looks like that, doesn’t it?
Last fall we found ourselves the lucky owners of three mature rhubarb plants. An elderly friend of my mother’s in the city kindly offered to let us have the plants as long as we came to dig them up. We couldn’t believe our luck, as rhubarb was a gap we’d been longing to fill and we hadn’t been able source any during the last growing season. We tucked them up in our front garden (north facing) along a sheltering wall, and hoped for the best.
We noticed the first of the three poking its leaves up through the soil just over the weekend. It’s amazing how that bed has reverted to hard baked clay on top, and the scattering of gravel from shovelling the walk and driveway in the winter makes it look all the more forlorn. It’s incredible to me that the rhubarb had the strength to break through the clay, but it did. Its nearest neighbour had more of a struggle and we had to uncover it to get the light to its yellowed leaves. After just a few days it already has more of a normal red-green tint, and the third plant has also started to push its way up.
None of this – the early arrival, the strong instinct to survive – is surprising when you realize that rhubarb originally comes from Siberia. This crazy perennial actually loves long, cold winters.
And what a treat rhubarb is, at least to me. I’m so looking forward to rhubarb fool, rhubarb crumble and I’m longing to try a rhubarb version of the raspberry cake that I made several times last summer and still dream about now. I’m looking forward to finding great new ways to cook with rhubarb; if you have any delightful rhubarb recipes, I’d love to know of them!