Rhubarb Blackberry Crisp


We seem to be in a rhubarb eating frenzy! I think we’ve made at least six rhubarb crisps in the last month alone.

I kid you not!

But when the rhubarb is abundant and this crisp is so easy to make my 11 year old can do it – why not?!

I took this particular version to church one Sunday night and brought home an empty pan. The blackberries added sweetness and such a pretty color!

If you don’t have blackberries – you can always substitute raspberries, strawberries, or just add more rhubarb.

By the way – I was totally serious when I said my 11 year old can make this. Buddy made the one in the picture!

Rhubarb Blackberry Crisp

3 1/2 cups diced rhubarb
4 cups blackberries, fresh or frozen
6 tablespoons flour
1 cup sugar
2 cups flour
2 cups oatmeal
2 cups brown sugar
1 cup butter, melted

Toss the rhubarb, blackberries, 6 tablespoons of flour and 1 cup of white sugar together in a bowl.

Place in a greased 9 x 13 pan.

Combine the oatmeal, brown sugar, butter and remaining 2 cups of flour together in a bowl.

Spread evenly over the fruit and bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes. The top should be slightly browned and the fruit bubbly.

Serve with a scoop of ice cream or a large dollop of whipped cream!


I’ve linked this post with Tasty Tuesday at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam.

Starving Time

Plants It’s starving time.

No, I’m not literally starving. My scale tells me that I’m eating more than enough – but thanks for asking! 🙂

This is the time of year that the pioneers referred to as “Starving Time”.

They made it through the long winter but their provisions are low. Their gardens are begun, but it will be weeks before they harvest anything to eat.

Although there is an abundance of food in my home – I am still “starving” for garden fresh everything! Just the thought of a bowl of garden fresh salsa or a fresh raw peas straight from the vine makes me salivate!

Waiting patiently has never been one of my virtues. I look at my little plants growing in the basement and will those jalapenos to grow faster!

They are looking good though – actually all of the plants are. The  California Wonder sweet peppers took their sweet time in coming up – but are coming on strong now.

Some of my heirloom tomatoes look a little brown – but are still growing and have green leaves. Should I worry?

We are making progress outside – we even have the garden tilled thanks to Jan’s friend Donnie and his tractor mounted tiller (which my husband just added to his wish list!).

AND – are you ready for this? – I even have some peas, lettuce, and early radishes planted!

I was rather proud of myself until I noticed yesterday that all of my Amish neighbors already have things growing in their gardens.

Oh well! I’m just waiting now for a few dry days to get some more things planted.

Meanwhile I’ll enjoy the beautiful daffodils and hyacinths and rejoice that the fruit trees are starting to bloom.

And I’m be thankful for both the rhubarb pie and crisp we’ve enjoyed and the tiny amount of fresh asparagus we harvested.

…even if I’m still starving for a fresh radish! 🙂

Rhubarb – A “Firstfruit” of Spring

You know that spring has arrived when the first little red shoots of rhubarb poke through the ground!

Also called pie plant, this perennial has been around for many years. In the past it was used as a “spring tonic” to help stimulate the digestive system after a long winter of preserved foods. (I will vouch from personal experience that rhubarb does have that quality!)

Rhubarb just seemed to belong to our old farmstead, so I was surprised that we couldn’t find any.

I was even more surprised to find that I had trouble getting a patch started. Every year my mom would send us home with some roots to plant, and every year they would immediately die.

Finally one of our neighbors – who has a beautiful rhubarb patch – told me the secret. She said that rhubarb does not like to have its feet wet. All I needed to do was to mound up the dirt into a little hill before I planted the rhubarb.

It worked! My patch is finally looking nice and really producing!

Rhubarb can be picked just as soon as the stem is long enough. Just grab the stem and pull – it should just “pop” out. Then take a knife and hack off the poisonous leaves. (I leave them around the plants as a natural mulch.)

It’s important to never pick so much on a plant that the crown is exposed. I like to pick a few stalks off of each plant and then let them grow back. You can pick rhubarb until the weather warms up, then it will get bitter, but by then we’ve usually had plenty of rhubarb!

After you clean the stalks, they can be cut and used in many recipes or frozen to use in the winter.

To freeze rhubarb: wash the stems and cut into small sections. Place in a ziplock bag and freeze.  A quart bag is a good amount for a rhubarb pie.

Fresh Rhubarb

Spring is officially here; I have eaten my first rhubarb!

This sweet and sour perennial has traditionally been used as a Spring tonic to wake up the digestion after a winter of canned or dried foods. Although the leaves are very poisonous, the stalks are delicious and one of the first plants we can harvest in the Spring.

I had trouble getting rhubarb to grow in our heavy clay soil for several years. Then a neighbor told me, “Honey, rhubarb doesn’t like to get its feet wet. You just mound up that soil in a nice little hill so it drains and plant the rhubarb on top.”

She was right! I mounded the soil before planting and now have several very nice plants.

Rhubarb should be harvested in the early Spring before it gets bitter in the warm weather. My daughters and I will cut rhubarb every three days for a while until we have all we need or the weather warms up, which ever comes first.

We like to freeze some every year to make pies and crisps all winter. We just pull young tender stems off the plant, chop off the leaf, and wash the stalk well. Then we chop it into bite size pieces, put it in a quart size freezer bag and freeze. We always label the bags because it only lasts about a year in the freezer before it takes on a strange texture.

We also make several batches of rhubarb jam, which tastes wonderful on homemade whole wheat toast in the morning!

My favorite rhubarb recipe was given to me by a dear friend, and I only make it once a year, in the Spring, because the calorie count is outrageous! (Now you know it’s good!) We just made our yearly batch the other night and enjoyed every bite!

Rhubarb Bars

Crumble together: 3 cups flour, 2 1/4 cups oatmeal, 3 tsp. cinnamon, 3 cups brown sugar, 1 1/2 cup soft butter.

Press half into a greased 9 x 13 pan and cover with 4 cups of rhubarb, cut into 1/2 inch slices.

Combine in saucepan: 2 cups sugar, 2 cups water, 4 Tablespoons cornstarch, 2 tsp. vanilla.

Boil 5 minutes stirring constantly.

Pour over rhubarb.

Cover with remaining crumbs. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until rhubarb is tender and the topping is brown.

This is best eaten while warm served with a large scoop of vanilla ice cream, but is also good eaten cold with a spoon, right out of the pan when the children aren’t looking!