Rhubarb Muffins

It’s rhubarb season for those of you who are fans of this tart seasonal favorite. Two years ago, I posted a recipe for Rhubarb Lunar Coffee Cake, (recommended for hungry astronauts) and at the end I mentioned that I had just planted some rhubarb. Two years later I have enough of a crop to make my own rhubarb treats. I’ve already harvested twice this year as it got off to an early start and I was able to share some with the neighbors,

and make rhubarb scones.

In that post I also reminisced about our large rhubarb patch on the farm and how it had been there for decades.

Family dogs guarding the rhubarb patch on a lawn sunny with dandelions.

Recently I found the photos of when we set up a rhubarb stand at the end of the driveway under the shade of a big tree.

Four salesmen plus 2 cats and a dog – I’m the blonde beside the dog.

We had a big homemade sign advertising our wares, 25 cents a bunch, similar to this one. It was a quiet country road, so we didn’t have many customers, just a few people out for a Sunday afternoon drive. The profits ($1) were spent on penny candy.

This is making me nostalgic for our dog, King. He was a blonde border collie, (not a Lassie dog like the TV show which was popular at the time but the same color), and I’ve never seen another dog like him since. He wasn’t a cuddly dog, a pat by a stranger was barely tolerated. He was a working dog. His job was to fetch the cows from the back field if they hadn’t come up at milking time (my dad had a dairy farm) and to supervise the children. He was very protective of us, and could be found wherever we were. He could tell time too, as my mother said he would sit at the west side of the house at 3:30 every day like clockwork and wait for the school bus. He was an outside dog and slept in the doghouse or in the barn if it was very cold. One of my earliest memories was of going to pick him out, (I was four) and he died fifteen years later when I was first off to university. He was replaced by the black and white border collie (Shep) in the picture above who was the dumbest dog ever. He was also an outside dog, but the white Samoyed (Ruff), my mother’s empty-nester pet, was allowed inside the house as were later a succession of Golden Retrievers (Fergie, Murphy and Co), who were friendly but annoying in the fact they needed endless attention. I’m also feeling nostalgic about those big old trees which used to line the country lanes before they were all cut down to widen the road. Many farms had horses out in the fields so a drive in the country was a pleasant and scenic experience on a Sunday afternoon.

Enough of the memories, back to the rhubarb, as you must be hungry by now. Today’s recipe is for Rhubarb-Walnut muffins, which I adapted from a local magazine. When I say adapted, well you know I sometimes don’t follow a recipe exactly, with mixed results…

The Ingredients:

I didn’t have any buttermilk and while I know you can sour milk by adding lemon or vinegar I didn’t have any baking soda either, so I just used plain milk and my premixed flour with the baking powder already in it. I halved the recipe, as what do I need with 2 dozen muffins when we’re in month five of lockdown. I also microwaved the diced rhubarb to soften it as I didn’t think it would cook in the 25 minute baking time.

Beat the brown sugar, oil (I used butter), vanilla, egg and milk with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the dry ingredients and mix by hand until just blended. Add the rhubarb and walnut pieces.

Here’s where things got interesting. The batter seemed too runny so I added some more flour, and not quite sweet enough, so a bit more sugar. Just a few tablespoons, nothing measured, but I still only got ten muffins not twelve. Spoon into muffin tin.

Sprinkle the melted butter/sugar/cinnamon mixture on top.

Bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees.

They certainly looked pretty and turned out okay, but not great. But then I compare everything to my Rhubarb Lunar Coffee Cake, which is moist (from a whole cup of sour cream) and has a nice contrast between the sweet topping and the tart rhubarb. I found this topping skimpy and it had too much cinnamon plus I missed the brown sugar. I liked the chopped walnuts, as I’ve never added those to muffins before. The rhubarb sort of disappeared, not sure if I nuked it too long before hand and it disintegrated, or there just wasn’t enough of it. Next time I would add more rhubarb, and maybe some strawberries. They were better with some strawberry jam. I tend to be fussy with my food, but I gave some to my neighbors and my grass-cutter and there were no complaints.

Nice with a cup of tea on the deck during a gardening break.

The rhubarb patch is experiencing a third wave so after I have my cholesterol re-checked, (it was a spur of the moment decision so I didn’t fast, but we have been eating very well over the past year), I may make the Rhubarb coffee cake again. Muffins are portable, but that cake was great!

(949 words, about 700 if you eliminate the stuff about the dogs, kind of makes up for last weeks 3000 essay on LLM…..)

38 thoughts on “Rhubarb Muffins

    • Joni says:

      Lately I’ve been throwing a cup of blueberries into my same old boring bran muffins and it made such a difference. But they were good taste like candy blueberries from CA, not the sour things we have here in the winter or the frozen bags.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Joni says:

        Blackberries are not a big thing here, but blueberrys are…..I may blog about them this summer if I get to the blueberry farm where you can pick your own and they sell all kinds of pies and baked goodies. They are supposed to be very good for your eyesight, as full of antioxidants.

        Like

  1. Jo Shafer says:

    When we first moved out here to Washington state some 40 years ago, Hubby carved out a rhubarb patch in a far corner of the back yard. There no gardens then, only a ragged, ill-cared for lawn. All that changed over time as we got to work. And the rhubarb? I didn’t like it at all until I tasted a strawberry-rhubarb pie at a country picnic.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Joni says:

      I only like strawberry-rhubarb pie if someone else makes it! Rhubarb by itself is too tart, although last year I stewed some and added a ton of sugar and added it to plain vanilla yogurt.

      Like

  2. Anne says:

    Rhubarb! I love rhubarb and am determined to try and get hold of another plant once this drought has turned the corner. This has been a ‘delicious’ post and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the photographs from your childhood.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Joni says:

      Thanks Anne. I think I had an idyllic very sheltered childhood living out in the country. I only planted one rhubarb plant two years ago but it seems prolific this spring.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Eilene Lyon says:

    You got me to wondering if I even still have a muffin pan (yes), since it’s been so long since I made any. I think the coffee cake would be more my style. I have a small patch of rhubarb in my garden and have made crisp a couple times already – once with strawberries and once with raspberries.

    I’m enjoying Anne of Green Gables!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Deb says:

    Yay for the dogs’ stories…and the recipe! I received a lovely recipe for strawberry and rhubarb muffins from one of my sweet patients…I just can’t remember where I put it, though…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Arlene Somerton Smith says:

    We have a rhubarb patch in front of our house that is a “community” patch. Several neighbours come to harvest from it – and they usually bring us a sample of the goodies they make. Rhubarb commission, if you will. It’s a wonderful thing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Joni says:

      Hey, I like that idea of a “community patch” esp. if you get treats back. Next time I’m going to demand “rhubarb commission!” Although I shouldn’t complain as my neighbour brought me blueberry crisp last week.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Linda Schaub says:

    I love rhubarb – my mom used to stew it up with fresh strawberries and we’d put it on toast or on ice cream – yum. That’s probably the last time I had rhubarb was when my mom made it. Your muffins looked good, as did those scones. I really like the pictures of you and your siblings in the selling business. Very cute and your dog by your side as well. I thought it was a Lassie-type collie so thanks for clarifying that. You’ll always have nice memories from growing up on a farm. I was always envious of when my mom told me she went to her grandparents’ farm. They went for holidays and also for two weeks in August. My grandparents took their vacation time in August and went up to help bring in the crops. My mom and grandmother put up preserves from all the berries picked those two weeks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Joni says:

      I sometimes will stew it and add to vanilla yogurt, a bit healthier option. Last year I made rhubarb/strawberry jam, just a small batch but I wasn’t happy with the way it turned out. I’m already on the lookout for canning jars as I plan to do two batches of freezer jam of both strawberry and later peach as mom like it and we ran out last winter.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        I think that is all my mom did with her rhubarb – can’t remember if she made pie with it. She used to love red currant pie and only one farm market carried them, just once a year and got maybe a dozen pints in, so they had our name and we’d go get them. They were very tart and tiny berries. My mom didn’t make enough stewed rhubarb/strawberry to put freeze, so we had to eat it all at once. She used to buy blueberries when they were cheap and clean/freeze them on cookie sheets and make blueberry muffins in the Winter time. The good ol’ days with nice treats.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        When you retire you can make those treats too! Lately I’ve been putting blueberries in my bran muffins (just the Quaker Oats mix) and it’s good. My mom used to make my dad a red currant pie on the farm as we had 3 red currant bushes and I would sometimes gather them, but no one else would eat it as it was was too tart! We also had one black currant bush too and it was awful!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        I never had black currants and that pie was very tart. But she remembered having it at her grandmother’s farm when she was growing up. They sent her and her cousins (my grandmother had eight siblings) out to pick berries and my grandmother and her mom would make preserves with some, pies with others. I know I will not be idle or bored when retired.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        True…..I live in a neighbourhood surrounded by big dogs which seem to require so much attention and walking and fussing over, and discussions over barking and behaviour etc. (I was recently almost attacked by a couple of giant English mastodons and barely got inside the car). I think big dogs belong in the country, but then that’s how I grew up. Those Golden Retrievers are good with kids, but drove me nuts with their constant scratching at the door to go in and out all day long. Unless you have a big yard I feel sorry for them being cooped up all day. Small dogs are okay in town, except the neighbours spaniel which pees on my shoes in greeting. Ack…..give me a cat instead, much more civilized.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Joni says:

      You should! I only planted one plant which I believe I got at the Walmart pop up nursery for $10 and I already have a crop two years later. I’ve harvested 3 times from it already this year due to our early spring, enough for the freezer for later too.

      Liked by 1 person

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