December 2009

Hard to imagine that Christmas is just weeks away, and we have no snow where I live in Ontario.

I could go out and cut the grass if I wanted to, and it makes me desperately hope for a "white" christmas, at least Christmas day anyway.

Great article posted recently at the Organic Allotment Blog in the Uk about what you can do in December with your rhubarb. I certainly couldn't but maybe I could considering the weather. The article is about splitting crowns, and I guess December is the best time there to do it.

Here in Ontario, I'm sure we will be dumped on soon enough with snow. It's still quite easy to drive around and get shopping done though that I am still so far behind on.

Rhubarb is used as a fragrance for candles, soaps and diffusers, but ever thought of rhubarb as a fragrance for men?

A new one from Dunhill Fragrances London is out and is described as "masculine yet elegant" and consists of a mixture of sandalwood, cedar leaf, vanilla and rhubarb.

Of course my baking is lagging behind as well, but I think I might try one of the many variations of rhubarb cobblers.

What is so common at Christmas time? Cranberries of course, and this recipe looks like a good one.

Rhubarb Cranberry Cobbler

3 1/2 tsp. cornstarch

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. ginger

8 cups thawed frozen rhubarb

1 cup cranberries - frozen or fresh

1/4 cup frozen cranberry juice concentrate

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter at room temperature

1 large egg

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 cup milk

1 cup all purpose flour

1 tsp. baking powder

pinch salt

Vanilla ice-cream

Grease a 13 x 9 x 2 inch glass baking dish. In a large bowl, whisk 1 cup sugar and rhubarb, cranberries, and concentrate. Pour into greased baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 - 30 minutes until well heated and bubbling.

While that is cooking, beat the butter and remaining sugar in a small bowl until well mixed. Add the egg, vanilla, and milk. Sift the dry ingredients into the mixture, and blend the entire batter well.

Drop by tablespoons over the hot rhubarb-cranberry mixture. Continue baking until the top is golden and the filling is bubbling, approx. 45 minutes.

Serve in large goblets topped with ice cream for a more festive look.

If you are especially partial to the cranberries, you could always add any amount you like to your rhubarb sauces when boiling down for compote. Apples thrown in as well as ginger and cinnamon always adds extra taste and spiciness that goes so well with turkey and most cuts of meat.

It's great on it's own as a treat after dinner too.

A Mysterious Rhubarb Club?

I happened upon an article recently that I would like to share with you.

It was an interview done by "Kelly MacNeil" of UALR (Little Roc) Public Radio.

Being interviewed was former Professor Dr. Allen Ward, who is indeed a big fan of rhubarb.

Being a huge fan led to the establishment of the "The Rhubarb Club" and presently has a membership of 450 people, which ironically, resulted from a one-time joke.

You can listen to this short but interesting interview about the Rhubarbarians and The Rhubarb Club. I will provide the link at the bottom.

The group's members refer to themselves as Rhubarbarians. They have a motto. They have an anthem, a logo, AND a secret hand sign. (I am dying to know what that would be!)

They get together to talk about rhubarb recipes and share jokes.

As Dr. Ward put it, "Because it's a community coming together, where friendship and cohesion develops around something as ridiculous as rhubarb." Well said.

Dr. Ward is the author of "The Rhubarb Club" which is full of recipes and recollections. It is available at Wordsworth Books.

Dr. Ward can be reached at

Don't forget about the Holiday Baking page; if you have lots of frozen rhubarb right now, you may want to try some of the recipes there that to me, are geared towards the Christmas season. On the other hand, I think they would be wonderful at any time of the year.

Holiday Baking With Your Rhubarb

The Radio Club Interview - Dr. A. Ward

I wish you and yours a safe and happy holiday season.

Until next time,




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