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April 24, 2013

Breakfast with rhubarb

Another spring tradition, rhubarb’s ruby red stalks bring a freshness to the breakfast table.

This is the season for special occasions — graduations, bridal showers and Mother’s Day — where something a bit special is called for at breakfast, and these pastel-pink smoothies are appealing as well as delicious. Pair them with a warm slice of orange-rhubarb bread, and you have accomplished “something special” indeed.

I always look forward to rhubarb season as it is very popular with you, readers, who obviously welcome rhubarb season as well. Over the years I have received so many e-mails and letters sending me your favorite rhubarb recipes, or requesting a certain recipe from me.

In the past five rhubarb seasons, my column has included the following recipes — strawberry-frosted rhubarb cookies, rhubarb cake, rhubarb-pecan muffins, rhubarb orange-walnut jam, rhubarb sour cream squares, blueberry-rhubarb crisp, rhubarb delight dessert and rhubarb cheesecake. A few of these recipes came from you, and were very much enjoyed by my family and myself.

From your letters I know how many of you grow your own rhubarb and are always looking for a new way to prepare it. For those of you who would like to grow your own, buy just a couple of plants, put in a sunny spot, and you will enjoy it for many years.

Rhubarb plants can be transplanted successfully. My father transplanted his six rhubarb plants to Cape Cod when they retired there, and those plants lasted another 13 years.

Plant rhubarb roots 2 to 3 feet apart in rich, well-drained soil, worked to a depth of a foot or more.

If you like, you can add compost, peat moss or other organic material, plus lime and fertilizer before planting.

Pull any weeds in spring before the rhubarb starts to grow. Waiting until later could damage the roots, causing decay or disease.

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