The past week proved to be a rather chilly week. After recent warm 80 degree weather we were not too thrilled to see the temperatures drop again. This morning the thermometer was at the freezing mark. My garden had frost on it so hopefully people that had plants out already had them covered. The only plants I have out right now are radishes and peas and they can handle a little cold snap, but ones with tomatoes and corn out might not be so lucky. My husband Joe and the boys worked evenings last week to get the storage potatoes planted. We now have 200 pounds of potatoes planted which we hope will give us a nice crop. It was a lot of hard work since they planted by hand. We don’t have a potato planter which would make the job easier I am sure. Last week the children mowed the grass for the first time. Meanwhile here in the house the girls and I have been busy doing spring cleaning. We were washing off walls, ceilings, windows, and curtains.
We also started to clean out some cabinets and closets. In addition to cleaning here, the girls were also helping a lady from our church with her cleaning. She has four little ones age 5 and under and was sick and not feeling well enough to do her own housework, so my girls offered to pitch in to help her. Although I could have used the girls help here at home I could also sympathize with her. I remember well how it was to not be able to do my own work and not have children old enough to take over.
We are starting to enjoy the first garden goodies of the year. Our asparagus is ready to use, which will be served creamed with potatoes, bacon, and cheese. That is how our family enjoys it the best, but we also like to dip it in olive oil and put them on the grill. Rhubarb is in full swing and we had our first taste of rhubarb-custard pie this spring. I made four pies on Saturday. I took the pies along to sister Emma and Jacob’s house. They invited us to come for the Sunday noon meal. On the menu was delicious grilled hamburgers along with mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, Swiss and Colby cheese, and deviled eggs. For dessert we had the rhubarb pie and ice cream. The temperature never warmed up to more than the mid-50s but the children still enjoyed the outdoors. They went on bike rides and were riding horseback on Jacob’s horses. Even though it was a bit chilly some of the children still went to Jacob’s with our pony, Stormy, and the pony wagon.
To Patricia from New Haven, Indiana about how to freeze rhubarb: Yes, rhubarb can be frozen. Wash rhubarb after cutting into small chunks and then put into sealed bags and freeze. Do not blanche. When ready to use let cold water run over it enough to break it apart. Then put it in your recipe. If you wait until it is completely thawed the rhubarb will get mushy. It is good to measure out in how many cups your recipe calls for before you freeze. I hope this will answer your question.
A reader from North College Hill, Ohio requested rhubarb recipes, so I will share my mother’s rhubarb-custard pie which is also how I make mine:
Homemade Rhubarb-Custard Pie
1 -1/2 cups rhubarb, diced
2 tablespoons flour
1-1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cups cream
In a large mixing bowl, stir together all ingredients except for rhubarb and beat well. Add rhubarb and pour into a 9 inch unbaked pie shell and bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until set.
“SCRATCH N DENT” AMISH COOKBOOKS AVAILABLE
The company that prints the Amish Cook cookbooks is testing some new printing equipment on the third shift of Saturday, May 1 and they have requested a test run from one of their customers. Because of this, cookbooks can be bought essentially at cost by customers to be printed on May 1. Book covers will probably have some wrinkles, creases, dimpling and maybe even some minor scratches as they test different settings, but the insides of the books should be in excellent shape. All six Amish Cook soft-cover cookbook, with the damaged covers, are available for $48.56, plus $4.99 shipping. Titles are Best of The Amish Cook, Vol 1 - 3; The Amish Cook Treasury, The Original Amish Cook Cookbook, and the Amish Cook’s Family Favorites & Facts. This damaged book offer is being passed along to readers as a “thank you” for keeping this column around for what will be its 20th year in 2011.
To get these imperfect books, all orders must be in by noon, Saturday, May 1. Books will be sent out USPS media mail on Monday, May 3 through our partnership with Amazon.com. To order by phone, call 513-849-9158. To order online visit www.amishcookonline.com/update. Orders will be accepted by postal mail at Oasis Newsfeatures, PO BOX 2144,Middletown, Ohio 45042. Multiple sets may be ordered. Any orders received after Friday, April 30 will be returned.