Fresh rhubarb should be coming in soon if it’s not here already, filling home gardens, farmer’s markets and grocery store shelves.
The pink-hued stalks that resemble very sunburned celery are a vegetable. But rhubarb finds its way into many luscious desserts.
I was curious, though, to know why rhubarb was the given term for a fight, brawl or dust-up.
Research revealed it’s baseball slang for a fight or argument between players and/or umpires.
Those entangled episodes are sure to be on the horizon since baseball season is next to start up in the field of sports. And by the way, welcome Power players! It’s good to have you here.
Another note about the word comes from the theater world. By murmuring “rhubarb, rhubarb” in the background, radio actors could imitate the sounds of a rowdy crowd. Who knew?
I also learned the Greeks called it rha barbaron, a combo of two words meaning “not from around these parts.” The plant originally came from ... wait for it ... China!
One of the best desserts in the pie category is the sweet-tart strawberry-rhubarb. We don’t seem to be able to make it often, since fresh rhubarb vanishes within its quick season.
I know all you clever canners and freezers out there put up rhubarb, as you do fresh peaches and tomatoes, for the off time.
I’ve made rhubarb baklava and have previously given the recipe in this column. That particular dessert has already been requested here at the home place for this spring. It really turns out to be a special treat for rhubarb lovers.
I’ve included it here in case there is curiosity about making it or for those who may not have seen it the first time around.
A friend who had rhubarb growing in her backyard garden supplied me with the main ingredient.
I have a different method of layering my standard nut and phyllo baklava, and a different recipe for that syrup topping. But the recipe today is one I followed for the rhubarb.
The crumble is a quick-cook avenue to enjoyment of strawberries and rhubarb, the natural flavor mates.
It comes together in simple steps and the same can be said for the pie. Those recipes have been around quite a while and you may have made them many times, but they could catch the eye and be new to someone.
The layering of phyllo dough for the lasagna may be daunting, but stay with it for an excellent result.
After buying the rhubarb and berries, there isn’t much prep with the rest of the ingredients for any of the desserts. I hope you are one of the lucky home gardeners with rhubarb at your fingertips.
I know you are likely already aware, but the leaves of the rhubarb are never to be eaten. Discard them if you purchase any stalks that still have the leaves.
There’s one more grocery find to tell you about, especially for those who realize whole loaves of bread are too much for their household.
For several years, Sara Lee has had a 16-ounce loaf of bread on the shelves in grocery stores. It’s in direct contrast to the standard loaves of 20 ounces.
I recently discovered another short loaf of bread. Bigley Piggly Wiggly is now selling new half-loaves.
The bread is produced by Lewis Bakeries, “Lewis Bake Shop — Family Bakers Since 1925” and is sold in 12-ounce bags with around 12 slices to the package.
The variety is broad, including artisan, butter white, honey wheat, nutty oat, 12-grain, sourdough, soft white, potato and raisin cinnamon swirl.
You may be able to finish off those loaves without any freezing to preserve and minus the anxiety of hoping it won’t go stale.