Rhubarb Crisp Recipe

Rhubarb crisp with vanilla ice cream.  It’s crispy, saucy, tarty, sweet, warm and cold all in one little bite.  Every family, I’m sure, has it’s own favourite rhubarb crisp recipe, this one is ours.  We love it because of the double crust – one on the bottom and one on the top and because it’s not too sweet.

Rhubarb Crisp
3/4 cup or 185 ml packed brown sugar
1/2 cup or 125 ml whole wheat flour
1/2 cup or 125 ml all purpose flour
3/4 cup or 185 ml old fashioned large flake oats 
1/2 cup or 125 ml melted butter
1 tsp or 5 ml cinnamon
1/4 cup or 60 ml chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans)
3 1/2 cup or 875 ml sliced rhubarb 
3/4 cup or 185 ml granulated sugar
2 tbsp or 30 ml cornstarch
1 cup or 250 ml water
1 tsp or 5 ml vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350F or 180o C
Mix brown sugar, flours, oats, butter and cinnamon until crumbly.
Press half the mix into a buttered 8″ baking square or a1.8 litre casserole dish.
Top with sliced rhubarb.
In a saucepan, over medium heat, combine granulated sugar, cornstarch, water and vanilla.  
Cook until mixture turns clear and thick. In this picture, the sauce is just starting to turn.
Pour thickened mixture evenly over rhubarb.
Sprinkle remainder of crumb mixture over the rhubarb.
Sprinkle nuts over crumbs.
Bake in oven for 50 minutes.

What’s your favourite rhubarb recipe?  We’d love to add it to our Fruit Share blog.

Top 5 Questions about Rhubarb

Here are the top 5 questions we hear about rhubarb and some links to all things rhubarb.

1. Are rhubarb leaves really poisonous?
Yes, rhubarb leaves are really poisonous.  High levels of oxalates and anthraquinone glycosides that are present in rhubarb leaves are believed to be the culprits.  Check out  The Rhubarb Compendium for more information.
Having confirmed that the leaves are poisonous, let’s keep things in perspective.  You would need to eat about 5 kg or 11 lbs of rhubarb leaves to cause death.  That’s a lot of rhubarb leaves!  Of course, you’d need much less to get a tummy ache. 

In other words, don’t make rhubarb leaf salad for dinner tonight!

2.  Can I put rhubarb leaves in my compost?
Yes, you can compost rhubarb leaves.  Since we don’t eat our compost pile, there is no danger to us.  And, because the components break down so quickly, there’s no danger to the microbes in your compost bin either.  Even when you finally use your compost, the acids will have been decomposed and won’t affect the acidity of your compost.
3.  How do I know when rhubarb is ready to harvest?
Despite what someone may have told you, do not wait until the stalks turn red!  You might be waiting for a long time since not all rhubarb varieties will ever turn completely red.  Instead, rely on the size of your rhubarb.  Start harvesting when stems are about 25 to 40 cm or 10 to 15 inches long.  Check out Purdue University for some more information on rhubarb harvesting.

4.  What’s the proper way to harvest rhubarb?
Our best advice is to pull out the large stalks on the outside of the plant.  Run your hand down the stem until you’re close to the ground then gently pull with a little twist.  The stem should come right out.  Leave at least four or more stems in the middle to ensure further growth.
5.  How much rhubarb in a…?
Here’s our rhubarb conversion chart.  It comes in handy when making all those delicious recipes!
In Metric Measurement
1 bunch = 5-8 stems
5-8 stems = 2.2kg
2.2 kg diced into 1 cm pieces = 875 ml 
In Imperial Measurement
1 bunch = 5-8 stems
5-8 stems = 1 lb
1lb diced into 1/2″ pieces = 3 1/2 cups 
We also like the information provided by Canadian Gardening and the University of Illinois on growing, harvesting and cooking rhubarb.

Our First Fruit Sharing

And so it begins.

On a cloudy May long weekend, a desperate plea from a friend and neighbour about rhubarb launched Fruit Share into action.
It was a small harvest of 1.5kg or 3lbs of rhubarb.  It required only one volunteer travelling by bicycle to harvest, but it was and always will be our first harvest!
True to form, Fruit Share split the fruit three ways.  The  homeowner asked for her 1/3 to be left standing in the rhubarb patch.  The remainder was split 50/50 between the volunteer and an unknown senior living at Fred Tipping Place (a senior’s apartment building on South Osborne).  
Yes, it was a small bundle that we shared.  But it was just the right size to get a huge grin and a big thank you from a lovely gentleman who enjoys making rhubarb crisp.  That little batch was all he needed.
Thanks to Julie for sharing her bounty and making three families very happy on a cloudy May long weekend.  

The Neighbourhood is Blooming

Nanking Cherry Bush
Spring blossoms are such a beautiful and promising sight.  I can’t help but imagine the wonderful fresh fruit, juice, jellies, syrups, pies and sauces that will await us this summer and fall.
It took us a while to pinpoint exactly what kind of cherry we had growing in our back yard.  All we knew was that they were delectable little cherries that the birds love as much as we do.  Finally, after a little online research we confirmed we have two nanking cherry bushes.  
After giving our bushes a little more space and some thorough pruning, we now get a lot of little cherries.  Last year, we had enough to make jelly to last two families all winter long.  That’s not considering all the ones we ate right off the bush and the ones we used for making sauce for our special Nanking Sundaes.
Mmm!  I can’t wait for this year’s harvest.  If the blossoms and the buzzing of bees are any indication, it’ll be a good year for nankings.
What’s blooming in your back yard?
By Getty Stewart

Fruit Share Opens

Fruit Share is dedicated to picking, sharing and enjoying fresh fruit growing in backyards throughout Winnipeg, Manitoba. We connect fruit owners with volunteer fruit pickers to make good use of all that delicious, nutritious local fruit. Fruit owners make their fruit available for picking, volunteers pick the fruit and then the fruit is shared three ways – 1/3 to the homeowner, 1/3 to the volunteers and 1/3 to community organizations that can use the fruit (eg. Winnipeg Harvest, Agape Table, etc.). Everyone benefits!

The idea is based on similar models in Toronto, Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver and Victoria. The South Osborne Urban Community Cooperative is leading the start up of this project in two Winnipeg communities – Riverview and Lord Roberts.

Are you interested in participating? Do you have fruit that needs picking? Would you like to be a volunteer fruit picker? Are you part of a community organization that could make good use of local fruit? If so, let us know by sending an email to urban.community.cooperative@gmail.com.

By: Getty Stewart