In addition to asparagus and chives, rhubarb is a springtime favorite around these parts. A super hardy plant, it can be found growing in a wide range of places from abandoned lots to the most pampered gardens. Its been a constant in many prairie gardens for years; as it can tolerate some of Southern Alberta’s toughest conditions.
It is one of the first perennial plants to pop up in the garden and perhaps one of the most beautiful. I love watching it grow and change every day in the spring- what starts out as a few curled up yellow leaves poking out of the ground soon springs open into a mass of leafy abundance. The tart, celery-like stalks can be used for muffins, pies, crisps, jams, chutneys and can even be simply stewed and put on your morning oatmeal or your midnight ice cream.
My grandma has always made the best rhubarb muffins- and as soon as there was enough of the reddish-pink goodness to harvest, I braved the rain and picked some rhubarb to whip up a batch. I didn’t have any walnuts in the cupboard so I omitted them- feel free to do the same if you are allergic or don’t have any either!
Eat ’em up fast- muffins are at their best the same day you bake ’em! And I promise you, they won’t last long 🙂
preheat oven to 350
Combine in one bowl:
- 2 c flour (I used half white and half whole wheat)
- 3/4 c sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 3/4 walnuts or pecans, chopped
In a second bowl combine:
- 1 egg
- 1/4 c oil
- 3/4 c orange juice
- a few pinches of orange zest
- 1 1/4 c chopped rhubarb
Mix the 2 bowls together until batter is moist. Portion out in muffin cups and bake for 25-30 min.
This made me 8 large muffins; but I filled the tins pretty full.
** Two notes about the leaves:
- They are apparently quite toxic, so don’t eat them!
- I use them as mulch in my garden- simply cut a slit half-way into the leaf and place around your tomato plants. Keeps moisture in and weeds out! They eventually dry out and form a nice ‘seal’ around your plant.