We have a bountiful crop of rhubarb this year; lush, ruby red stalks with huge, green leaves. An herbaceous perennial, rhubarb likes well-drained soil that is rich in organic material. Our soil here at Rabbit Hill is enriched with composted rabbit manure and lobster shells.
Driving around the state, I love to admire farmyards decorated with large patches of spring rhubarb, often located in close proximity to the barn. Our rhubarb plants come from stock 100 years or older. Given to me by my grandmother, they were root divisions from the family homestead plants on Young’s Turkey Farm in Norway, Maine.
The recipe for Maple Rhubarb Muffins comes to me from my mother, who enjoys a muffin daily with her morning tea break. I tinkered with the original recipe, replacing one half of the white flour with fiber-rich whole-wheat flour, and replacing the cane sugar sweetener with maple syrup and reducing the amount. This makes for a nice, light muffin, not-too-sweet, with a delicate maple flavor.
Although often eaten as a fruit, botanically speaking, rhubarb is a vegetable. Fruit or vegetable, this muffin recipe is an excellent way to incorporate the health benefits of rhubarb; Vitamins K and B-6, folate, riboflavin, niacin, thiamin and pantothenic acid, into your diet.
Rhubarb is an easy to grow crop and a staple on Maine farms. Every family should have a rhubarb patch. Once grown just as an ornamental, rhubarb is a mouth-puckering herald of spring. And the culinary possibilities are endless: rhubarb cobbler, rhubarb chutney, rhubarb jam, rhubarb sorbet, even rhubarb ketchup. Send your favorite family recipe along and I’ll cook up a rhubarb taste-test festival. Wouldn’t that be fun?!
MAPLE RHUBARB MUFFINS
- ¾ cup all purpose flour
- ¾ cup whole-wheat flour
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup finely chopped rhubarb
- ½ cup maple syrup
- ½ cup yogurt
- 1 egg
- 3 tablespoons Melted butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease an 8-cup muffin tin.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and baking soda. Stir in the finely chopped rhubarb. In a medium bowl, mix together the maple syrup, yogurt, egg, melted butter and vanilla. Stir into the flour mixture, just to combine. Do not over mix.
- Spoon into prepared muffin tin and bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 12 – 15 minutes. Let cool in pan for 3 minutes before removing.