Scotte and I have never been productive gardeners. We’ve made lots of attempts. We’ve grown roses, planted burning bushes. The crabapple tree, planted over 20 years ago, blooms nicely every year, but through no fault of ours. Once we had a garden and planted two things we figured we couldn’t fail at, pumpkins and zucchini. You’ve probably guessed it…we got pumpchini and zucckins. The strangest mix of the two and, of course, inedible. I supposed inedible. We never actually tried to eat them. I’m not a fan of zucchini except in bread and none were big enough to carve for Halloween. So we’ve given up the garden thing, except for one thing…
Rhubarb. We’re very good at growing rhubarb. We have all we can use and can’t give it away fast enough. One planting of the tart, leafy veggie, obtained from a friend many years ago who can’t stand it, has been divided many times. It now lives along about 15′ of fence line. For some it would probably be a weed. We love having it where it is. It requires no upkeep. It’s easy to harvest and fun to share.
We share our bounty. Starting early in May, Scotte brings bundles of rhubarb to church. Just this year, I’ve used it in a rhubarb crisp carried to a family potluck dinner and baked it into a loaf of rhubarb quick bread served to elders and deacons at breakfast in our home. We’ve invited people over to harvest as much as they like.
Know who loves rhubarb but can’t grow it? This lovely lady, Flora Belle Dobbins.
If anyone should be able to grow this weed, Flora Belle and her husband Glenn should. They’re farmers. They’ve had a thriving wheat and canola farm in Cheney for decades. They grow, eat and preserve copious amounts of veggies. But, for reasons they’ve not been able to figure out, they can’t grow rhubarb. And Flora Belle loves it. She and Glenn dice it and cook it down to a sauce and eat it with their oatmeal for breakfast. In the past they’ve gone as far as buying it in a grocery store.
The other morning at church Flora Belle stopped me to share this:
Her favorite recipe for rhubarb crisp. She had a whole stack of handwritten copies of her recipe and was handing them out generously.
Scotte and I have been gifted with rhubarb. We got it first as a gift. It grows as a gift, needing no special nutrients, and apparently living in the perfect spot for just the right amount of light and water. And it’s our pleasure to share the gift freely. Flora Belle, who would love to be able to grow it, but can’t, loves and, may even say, needs rhubarb. So now she reminds us that we have something she needs. And we’re more than happy to pluck from our garden something her garden doesn’t give her.
How about you? What does your garden grow that someone else hasn’t been gifted with? Do you have a talent, skill or gift that others need to have access to? Have you received a monetary windfall that the church in another country needs to accomplish a vision God has given? Are you gifted in ways that no one at Shiloh knows about? Could you share your skills on the computer, or as a car mechanic, or in home repair with others in our body who don’t share your skills?
You can share the bounty of your garden by letting someone know you have it. Talk to someone at the information booth in the Worship Center if you’re looking for a need you can fill. They’ll help you find a place at Shiloh to use your gifts and talents. Or make a note on the In Touch card in your bulletin on Sunday. You can also use the comment section on this post to let someone know you have something someone else might need. Leave a comment as well if you’re looking for rhubarb, or help with a project, or you need someone to come alongside you with prayer support and encouragement.
As for the rhubarb…Now you know where to find it if you need some. And if you don’t already have a favorite recipe, you have Flora belle Dobbins’. Just message or call Scotte or myself and come over. We only ask that you pull it up, don’t cut it. That way it keeps on growing. As long as we keep having cool nights it’ll be good to eat. And as long as the gift holds out this summer, y’all are welcome to it.
Recipe for rhubarb sauce:
Dice the rhubarb into 1″ pieces. It’ll cook down by about half. So for about 2 cups sauce use about 4 cups of rhubarb.
Put the rhubarb in a saucepan or into a crockpot.
For the stovetop version add about 1 cup water for each 4 cups of diced rhubarb. Bring the mixture to a boil on medium-high heat then reduce to low and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally. When it’s cooked down to a sauce take it from the heat and stir in sugar to taste, half to one cup of sugar per 2 cups of sauce.
For the crockpot, fill it up with diced rhubarb, add just a bit of water. Cover and cook 5-7 hours. After it becomes sauce, stir in sugar to taste, about 1/2 to one cup per 2 cups sauce.
Rhubarb also freezes well. Just cut it up and freeze it in zipped freezer bags. No need to add sugar now. You’ll add the appropriate sugar when you cook it or bake it into a pie or crisp.