What is rhubarb?  Most Japanese people have probably never heard of it, let alone seen it.  Rhubarb is a vegetable with thick red stalks and big green leaves.  Unlike most other vegetables, you won't see rhubarb tossed into a salad, stir fried, or added to a soup.  It is most often used in dessert recipes and has a sour taste, which is almost always sweetened with sugar.

When my family first moved into the house that they currently live in, we found a great big rhubarb plant occupying a substantial corner of our new backyard.  After some procrastinating, my mother snapped some of its stalks off, discarded the leaves, and made the best rhubarb pie ever.  Sometime after that, I got to enjoy homemade rhubarb jam on scones.  But, unfortunately, a year or two after we made our rhubarb discovery, the local lawn care company nuked our beloved plant with a chemical/pesticide concoction, putting an end to any future recipes that my mother might have come up with.

While I've now been living in Japan for an incredible 14 years, I've never seen rhubarb anything, either in the supermarket or the plant nursery in my neighborhood.  So, feeling sorry for my rhubarb cravings, my husband bought me rhubarb seeds last year for me to try my luck with.  Recently, my plant has been steadily growing and looks quite healthy, so I'm hopeful that the stalks will get big enough for me to make a pie sometime soon.

Have you ever seen/tried anything with rhubarb?


~ Samantha