In which I harvest something wonderful planted by somebody else

I didn't plant most of the rhubarb growing on our property.  I did buy a few little transplants when we first moved here, and they are still alive, but they haven't prospered yet.  However, to my delight, we discovered that farmers living here many years ago planted the stuff along the property line. 

That first year on the farm, we spent a lot of time discovering things left behind by prior residents. 

Most of our discoveries were unpleasant, like the barbed wire left from the 1930's and 1940's, when the entire valley was a dairy farm.  Some of our finds were bizarre, like the still-functional car jack and a claw hammer we found in the middle of the mares' pasture.  

A few discoveries, however, were delightful, such as the thriving grapevine, buried under 6 feet of blackberry hedge, established in the 1970's and 1980's by a previous owner, and completely neglected by the folks who sold us the place.

It's difficult to say how long the rhubarb has been here.  It grows in a rather odd location right next to the fence between the neighbors' horse pasture and our driveway, and we have to hang flagging tape on the gigantic green leaves each year so that the kids (they were raised in the city, after all) will recognize that it is a desirable plant and not something to run over with the lawn mower.

Yesterday, I picked a bunch of rhubarb for a pie.

 I always think rhubarb must be some kind of dinosaur plant, because the stalks are so gigantic.  My scissors weren't adequate to the task of cutting them, and I had to run back to the house to get my knife!
 I don't eat sugar anymore, so I tossed chunks of rhubarb into a pot with chunks of apple, a little bit of water and some agave syrup.  The great thing about rhubarb pie filling is that you don't need a recipe--just add stuff that sounds good until you think it tastes right.  Medium heat for about 10 minutes to soften the rhubarb and get all the flavors to start mixing up.   Ummmm, cinnamon too.  And maybe a little bit of powdered ginger.  If I had fresh ginger root in the house, I would've used that instead.
I used a basic piecrust recipe from Joy of Cooking.  I baked the bottom crust for about 10 minutes so the filling wouldn't make it all soggy.  The rhubarb/apple mix went in next.  I didn't measure anything--I just cut up enough rhubarb and apples to fill up the pan.

For the top, I mixed pie crust dough with some cinnamon, some uncooked oatmeal (rolled oats, not instant), some melted butter and a tiny bit of agave.  Then I crumbled it up on top of the rhubarb and apple filling.

Bake at 350 F for about 40 minutes, until everything is bubbling and smelling nice! 



  1. Can I come over?? OMG that sounds so good. I haven't had rhubarb pie since I lived in Virginia.

  2. one of the things i learned cooking with you was your lack of recipes and resourcefulness.

    but i do have your "first tomato soup" in my mostly german collection now. on that fairytale stationery you had.

    if i could get some nice butternut squash, i could make one of the things you taught me.

    rhubarb is so odd, i just can't enjoy it. i'm sure how you made it is awesome, and i envy your family members.

    speaking of northwestern foods, (right?) my english student didn't know what a scone was so i googled it for him. then his mom came over and saw the computer and said "what is that?"


    "oh, those are like, muffins."

    no, they are puyallup fair to-die-for scones and while we're here, how dare german starbucks try to sell something called scones that they import overseas (i asked)....

  3. What an awesome thing to have appear on your property! Very cool.

  4. Jentry had me try the Agave syrup & it taste just fine as a sweetener! Now, I have to remember to buy some.
    We found old barbed wire here too for years & years, dug up another small piece this spring.
    We were on a first name basis with the guys at the trailer rental in Lake Stevens. Hauled away load after load of "leftovers"!

  5. Our previous folks left behind 4 very productive rhubarb plants. We can't eat the stuff fast enough, and I love it. Always amazes me to see it selling for $3/pound in the stores. If I ever give up this epidemiologist gig for a simpler life, I'm gonna be a rhubarb farmer/

  6. Yummmmmmy! That looks really good. I wish someone had planted some of that at our place, oddly enough they planted Comfrey all around the perimeter of the house and Nightshade in the yard underneath the apple trees.


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