One of the great things about blogkeeping is that a gal can look back at what she was doing at the same time in years past. Last year at this time, I was doing the same thing that I am doing today - canning stewed rhubarb at the Ann Arbor Farmer's Market. Last year, it was like Jupiter outside - very cold and raining sideways. A florist's display of bouquets blew over and vases shattered all over the concrete. I was afraid my stove was going to blow over - I was trying to hold it down with one hand and stir the pot with the other. I couldn't keep the flame lit, and then I turned and there was flame at the connection to the propane tank - carried by the wind I guess! I was getting a little nervous and frustrated. The market manager told me I could quit the demo, but I was halfway through and hated to waste the effort because I love rhubarb. So I tried to soldier on but was wondering how I was going to do it, when all of a sudden Jesus showed up in the form of a forester from northern Wisconsin that just happened to be passing through Ann Arbor for a few hours on his way to somewhere else. Like an Eagle Scout on steroids, he was prepared. He fashioned a tent for me out of an old tarp and some rope he just happened to have on him and he put some pipe dope on the propane hose connection, and then he blocked the wind with his jacket that was whipping down the market stalls. There were no shoppers, and many farmers packed up their stuff and left. Then all of a sudden, just like the sea of Galilee, the sun came out and the winds calmed, and I turned to thank the man for his help and he was gone! Just like that - he disappeared. It was the strangest thing I have ever seen happen.
This year, it's raining again, but not so cold and windy. So don't let a little rain keep you away from the market this morning - checking out the weather, it says it's only a "chance of a thunderstorm" later and a high of 65F. I don't think I'll need any miracles today. And if you are new to canning, you won't need any miracles either if give rhubarb a try. Canning stewed rhubarb is ridiculously simple - all you need is rhubarb and sugar.
Makes about 9 pints (one canner load) of rhubarb
7 lbs rhubarb
5 cups sugar
Trim off leaves. Wash stalks and cut into 1/2-inch to 1-inch pieces. In a large saucepan add sugar to fruit. Let stand until juice appears. Heat gently to boiling. Fill jars without delay, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Adjust lids and process for 15 minutes.
Stewed rhubarb is wonderfully versatile - it can be used to make a crisp or a pie, or as a topping for yogurt, or used as a sauce for pork roast. And it's a great Michigan product - we rank #3 for rhubarb production in the U.S. I guess you could say rhubarb is a miracle in itself!