Jammin’ With Strawberry Rhubarb

Do people up north eat rhubarb?   When I lived there, I never heard the word rhubarb, but you can’t rely on my judgement.  I’m so influenced by Southern life that when I attended college (as an adult mind you)  and the professor asked what the most common religion was in America, I raised my hand and said “Baptist.”   (As most of you know, I was wrong.)

Back to rhubarb… I’ve never heard anyone speak about strawberry rhubarb pie anywhere but…..here!      Strawberry-rhubarb pie is a prize in Southwest Virginia!    My grandmother, like most of her contemporaries living in Mendota at the time, had a rhubarb patch.     She warned us, “never eat those leaves.”   I have been thinking about her, and I decided to make some strawberry rhubarb jam, but I had difficulty finding rhubarb.   I knew I could get it at the Abingdon Farmer’s Market, but the main market is on Saturday; and on Wednesday, I wanted to get started.   I finally found it at Food City….just  a few of the red rhubarb stalks for $3.53, but I was glad to get them.

Based on this apparent rhubarb shortage, I decided to plant some rhubarb.  I got my plants at Lowe’s.    My little patch will have four plants. That’s enough for my needs.   They seem to like living out by the barn, and I can water and watch over them as I water my blueberries, potatoes, green beans, etc.    My stalks are tiny in the picture below, but fully developed rhubarb stalks look like beet-red celery.   You can sprinkle sugar on the stalks for a crunchy, tart treat.    And…as my grandmother said,  “Never eat those leaves,”  because...well, they’ll kill ya!  They are poisonous.

Rhubarb

I worked that comment about my blueberries, potatoes, green beans, etc. so I could, once again, show you the raised beds.  Anyone considering gardening should consider raised beds.  They are the best!   I took this picture about one week ago.   How ’bout them taters?”   We are abundantly blessed in rural Southwest Virginia.  Beyond the garden, you’ll see a line of white flowers…those are my blackberries.  Behind the blackberries further up on the ridge, there is a huge patch of raspberries.  The only challenge with these berries is the competition with the turkeys.   They love berries, too.

Potatoes and Blueberries

Back to strawberry-rhubarb jam…I used the traditional recipe for strawberry jam (minus the lavender) (posted here), but in this case, I first chopped up two cups of rhubarb and then added enough crushed strawberries to make 3 and 3/4 cups of the combined crushed strawberries and the chopped rhubarb mixture.

I love the rich red mixture.  Strawberry jam is so sweet and the rhubarb adds a bit of tartness.

Strawberry Rhubarb

For those of you who yet to try food preservation, please try it.   Making simple jams is a great way to get started.  After making one successful batch, you’ll be hooked.  So pretty and a great gift.

Strawberry Rhubarb Jam

And look at this, the cherries are here!    They are so happy and cheerful, but I am not sure whether I’ll bother picking them.   You are welcome, birds!

Cherries

 

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