“The knotted leaf
Unfurled to red stalk
Cleaves the earth with such happiness.”
— Anne Dimack’s pieku
Quinton Moran, age 7, takes time out to share his experience growing rhubarb and baking homemade pies.
What type of rhubarb do you grow on your farm?
We grow red, pink and green rhubarb. Some people think that the green rhubarb isn’t ready, but it is supposed to be green and tastes delicious, just like the red ones. [The green variety that Quinton is referring to is less common, but is very productive and, as he mentioned, is as sweet as, or sweeter, than both the red and pink varieties.]
The rhubarb on your farm is huge! What is the secret to growing such massive plants?
The rhubarb we grow on the farm is thick and juicy with enormous leaves! We grow it a certain way by putting tons of water on it, and then it grows really chunky. You grow it in a sunny place and water it a lot. It also helps to use horse manure. We are lucky that we have horses on our farm. Sage and Sisco give us lots of manure for our gardens! The secret to gardening is making sure the roots get lots to drink. We have a pond on our farm, so that’s where we get our water. It also helps to talk or sing to your rhubarb.
How would you describe rhubarb pie to someone who has never tried it before?
It has a crunch to it from the crust, but it has the sweetness and sourness from the rhubarb. It is also very juicy and delicious! [Quinton likes the tart flavour of rhubarb, so much so he can often be found nibbling on a freshly picked stalk. Mixing strawberry in with the rhubarb helps to balance out the tartness and creates a lovely texture.]
What is the secret to baking the perfect pie?
Well, the secret to baking the perfect pie is using all the ingredients: sugar, a little flour, butter, extra rhubarb and a drop of vinegar. You put it in the oven and there you go — delicious rhubarb pie because it has lots and lots of rhubarb.
Quinton especially likes his Great Aunt Jackie’s rhubarb pie; the award-winning recipe is included below. Try it out. You may have just found your new favourite dessert!
Quinton is adjusting to life on a farm after growing up in the city. He is soaking up the wisdom bestowed upon him by his Great Aunt Jackie Moad, fruit gardener extraordinaire.
Recipe for Rhubarb Pie Innards
Pick your rhubarb, give it a quick rinse and cut it into 1/2-inch lengths.
4 cups rhubarb
1 cup sugar
5 tbsp flour
1 tbsp butter
A sprinkle of almond powder (optional — see below under hint)
2 pie crusts
Mix the rhubarb, sugar and flour together. HINT: Sprinkle about a tablespoon almond powder on the base crust before you put in the fruit and your pie won’t have a soggy bottom!
Put the rhubarb mixture into your favourite pie crust. Dot with butter and cover with a second crust. Put some fork holes to let the hot air escape. Cut out a hole in the centre and stick a piece of uncooked rigatoni pasta into it. This helps the juice go up through the hole and not over the edges and onto the bottom of your over.
Bake on the lowest rack at 425F for the first 15 minutes. HINT: Put tin foil around the crust edge for the first 15 minutes so that it doesn’t get too brown by the end of the baking. Then lower the heat to 350F for another 50 minutes.