Rhubarb?? What do I do with this??
This week our first box of the season went out! This season has been slow going and I have developed a new disgust for rabbits. Early this season our defenses were breached by not 1, but 3 rabbits. I first noticed the issue when I woke up to find the newly developing heads of lettuce I transplanted had been attacked. It seemed odd because it was only the ones on the ends of the row. The next morning I saw the culprit, and what was that fur ball doing??? CHOWING DOWN ON MY YOUNG PEAS! I ran out and chased it past my gate. I then fortified my perimeter and thought I was all set.
The next day I was drinking coffee and looking at the rows when I heard movement in the rocks behind me. It was another rabbit! I tried to chase it out an open gate, but that sucker ran back into the plot and hid in a place where I couldn't get to it. That night I set out a live trap. In the morning, I had a prize!
Things seemed good, but the peas were still struggling some and I could have sworn my lettuce was bigger. Then a few days later around mid morning, I was inspecting my rhubarb when something ran from underneath and beyond the fence line into my plot. I thought it was a mouse and immediately went to move a trap, but realized it was not a mouse...it was a rabbit! a small one, probably born that spring, but small enough to breach my fence through the smallest of openings. I plugged the whole I saw it run through and then about an hour later I saw the little bugger eating the pea plants! I went out and chased it out only to discover another corner it could wiggle through. It has been a chore to get all the small wholes blocked and reinforced in order to keep that little guy out. Now I see him trying to figure out a way back in...he knows what's on the other side now!
Despite the rabbit trauma, our first box went out Wednesday. It contained a baby greens mix, mustard greens, bags of early, small onions, garlic chives, sage, lemon thyme, and rhubarb. The mustard greens can be added to salad, cooked, or used on a sandwich. The early onions are small and aren't for slicing, but work well for cooking either added to a saute, soup, or what we did, used to make corned beef. The herbs are great too. The garlic chives can be used like any chive: fresh, cooked, or added too soup. The lemon thyme can be used to season fish, chicken, butter, salad, etc; its flowers are also edible and can be used to top any cupcake or muffin with thyme in it like the ones created with the recipe on the Baked Bree blog or to bring an added splash to salads. My all time favorite herb though, has to be sage. I love sage tea! and you can find some great recipes on a previous blog post from May of 2016. I have to say, it looked a bit like a bouquet the way I had it packaged together.
The one item from the box that some people might not know what to do with is rhubarb. It is quite tart when eaten raw although it can be very refreshing. Many people are familiar with rhubarb in pie or jam, but it can be used in a number of ways. I love using rhubarb in quick breads and muffins. An easy quick bread that uses rhubarb is Cinnamon Rhubarb Bread or a basic Rhubarb Quick Bread. My kids love when I make Honey-Rhubarb Muffins and it only requires 1 1/2 cups of rhubarb. If you want to try something more on the savory side, try Pork with Red Cabbage and Rhubarb, Rhubarb Baked Beans, or Rhubarb-Braised Chicken Thighs.