Lagniappe: Far Out, First In, Ever Ready, or…RHUBARB?


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Since Andy wrote about his “horse” named Sugar in last week’s Andy’s Corner, I thought I should write about our real horse named “Rhubarb” for today’s lagniappe blog.

Back in about 1974 we had a Name-That-Colt contest for a Quarter Horse foal that was born on our South Shields Street property in Fort Collins, Colorado.  Our daughter, Sara, and niece JoDee helped compile the list of names from the family’s suggestions.  Cute names were proposed.  I especially liked “HillWin” (since Hill is my maiden name and we were living on the Hill property).  But the winner was (ta da!): RHUBARB!

I’m sorry, but I’m a horse-lover from way back, and I don’t think “Rhubarb” is the kind of name a horse should have.  But, of course, that name was chosen.

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Sara and Rhubarb

Why Rhubarb?  All I can think of is that rhubarb has long been a family favorite.  And now that spring is here and nice (non-horsey) rhubarb is (briefly) in the markets, I want to share the easiest, most delicious recipe for homemade jam you can ever make.

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My pathetic attempt at growing rhubarb in Glen Ellen

Rhubarb Jam

Choose the thinnest rhubarb stalks you can find. Personally, I love the jam without strawberries.  I think the strawberries overwhelm the delicate rhubarb flavor.

  • 6 c  (about 2 lbs w/o the leaves) of thinly sliced – 1/4″ – rhubarb (or substitute 1 c of sliced strawberries and 5 c of sliced rhubarb)
  • 2-3 c sugar (we prefer the less sweet approach so use only 2 c)
  • 1/3 c orange juice or lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp Diamond kosher salt
  • 1 tsp grated orange zest (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla (optional)
  • 2 tsp finely grated fresh ginger (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamon (optional)

Combine all of the ingredients – except the vanilla -in a medium saucepan, stir well, and let sit for about 1 hour.  Then put the pan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Reduce the heat to low (a little above a simmer) and cook at least 20 minutes (it may take as long as 40 minutes), stirring often, until the mixture thickens – before the “sheeting stage” (see diagram below).  Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.

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Scoop up some liquid (w/o pieces of rhubarb) and take the sauce off the heat when two drops at a time are coming from the spoon.  (middle photo)

Let cool completely; then spoon into jars and refrigerate or freeze (note: I never learned to can things – plus, it’s too much effort for me, so my jam gets refrigerated – or frozen, if we’re not going to use it in the next few weeks).

Recipe brought to you by and Andy and Ann.



  1. Robert Carleton says:

    We had a neighbor who had a whole row of rhubarb plants next to his garage. Produced way more of the succulent stems than any family could possibly use. Was cautioned not to eat too close to the leaves, way back then. Wonder who it was who watched a friend be sickened and decided it was the fault of the leaves?

    Gotta buy some rhubarb! Also, gotta dig out Andy’s Biscuit recipe!


    • theRaggedys says:

      Andy here: Never thought about eating too close to the leaves. Nancy (in earlier comment) claims her grandmother served it as a vegetable. Maybe your neighbor used rhubarb for more than jam. Also, I am pleased you will be digging out the biscuit recipe, but surprised it isn’t prominently displayed on your fridge door.


  2. Nancy Doval says:

    I love rhubarb too, but never ate it without strawberries, or as a vegetable, the way my grandmother famously served it (which sadly was before my time).
    Can’t wait to try your jam recipe.


  3. David Ewing says:

    Now, I’m shopping for rhubarb to plant in the garden. I figure one plant should be plenty. Meanwhile, our best ever animal-naming story comes to mind:

    Forty-five years ago my 18-year-old brother decided to sally forth and seek his fortune in the world. He couldn’t take a dog on his travels, so he “gave” his young Great Dane, “Damnit,” to our folks. My mother just couldn’t see herself saying, “Get off the couch, Damnit!” in front of a bunch of pre-school grand kids. The dog clearly needed a new name but he already answered to Damnit. A good twenty members of the family spent a week trying to come up with a suitable new name. Finally, Frankie’s dad suggested the obvious winner: Hamlet! Of course. A Great Dane named after the great Dane. And he wasn’t even an English major. Frankie’s dad, I mean, not the dog.


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