Rhubarb and winter onions are starting to peep through
The sun is shining and the temperature is over 60 degrees this morning. It looks like it will be another gorgeous day and spring only officially begins tomorrow (March 20). All signs of spring are here, first among them: the rhubarb is peeping through and winter onions are up. Also the horseradish and tea plants are starting to grow. Trees are budding and the grass is extra green for this time of the year.
We had our first meal of dandelion greens last night. Last year it was about a month later before we found enough for a meal. I steamed some potatoes and boiled some eggs to mix with the dandelion greens and sour cream. Sour cream I make with Miracle Whip salad dressing, vinegar, milk, and salt. Joe grilled T-bone steaks to go along with the meal. We also had sliced Colby cheese which is a favorite around here.
I buy the Colby cheese by the horn which is usually 15 to 16 pounds. It is so much cheaper to do it that way than to buy a few pounds at a time. A horn of cheese does not last long around here with our size family. We eat cheese in sandwiches, casseroles, soups, or just with crackers for a snack. I think the cheese doesn’t taste dried-out as much as the small packages in grocery stores. If we need shredded cheese we shred just the Colby cheese which tastes so much better than the pre-packaged kind you buy in stores. Years ago when we had cows and sold milk we would always order our horn of cheese off the milkman.
We took advantage of the nice weather this week and washed all our curtains, cleaned the windows and put in the screens. Looks so much more refreshing to see the white, crisp curtains on the clean windows. A few weeks ago one of the big oak trees in our yard uprooted knocking down one half of two smaller pine trees. Joe and some of the children worked on cutting the wood and burning the branches on Saturday. The bigger logs we might be able to sell to the local sawmill. The rest we will keep for firewood. Our neighbor, Steve, brought his larger chainsaw to help Joe cut the bigger area by the stump. Joe’s chainsaws were not long enough to cut all the way through.
On Saturday we also carried the patio table, chairs, and rockers out of the basement to put on the front porch again. Last night we already enjoyed eating supper on the porch. We let our coal stove go out a week ago. We hope the nice weather is here to stay.
Joe wants to till the garden this week so we can plant some of the early things like peas, potatoes, radishes, and so forth. On our list to do this week is raking the yard. The grass is really growing fast and I don’t think it will be long before we have to mow it. Our solar-powered freezer is staying charged well with all the sunshine. It even charges some on cloudy days.
With spring weather here it is time to start thinking about rhubarb. Mom would make rhubarb pie and rhubarb shortcake. We’d eat the shortcake warm and pour milk over it. My children like to eat it with ice cream. We didn’t have ice cream around the house when I was growing up since we didn’t have freezers. Rhubarb-custard pie is another favorite around here. Our children also love rhubarb juice, we just finished our last quart this week so we’ll be eager to make more this spring. This is another delicious way to use the early rhubarb. Give it a try.
- 1 1/3 cups brown sugar
- 2/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1 beaten egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup sour milk
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 3/4 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 cups chopped rhubarb
- 1/2 cup nuts (optional)
- Mix everything together and pour batter into two greased loaf pans. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
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Readers with culinary or cultural questions or to share recipes write Lovina at: Lovina Eicher, c/o Oasis Newsfeatures, P.O. Box 157, Middletown, OH 45042. To learn more about Amish culture and the Amish Cook column, visit www.amishcookonline.com or “The Amish Cook Fan Page” on Facebook.