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Rhubarb Ten Ways

Updated: Jun 9, 2020

By Tracy Griffen

Rhubarb is a personal superfood. Not only because it’s nutritious and full of fibre, but because it grows rampant on my plot. I love my rhubarb plants, so much that we moved them in a wheelbarrow when we moved allotment sites. The second time we migrated our rhubarb, the crown (roots) were so big we had to hire a man and van. They have found their final home at Pilrig Park allotments, and we harvest up to 20kg rhubarb every spring. Only eat the stems, the leaves are poisonous.

1. Simple cooked rhubarb: Stewed rhubarb is so simple. Chop a few washed stems into chunks, pop in a pan with a lid. Add a splash of orange juice and sprinkle of white sugar and cook, covered, for a few minutes. It doesn’t take long for the rhubarb to collapse, and this is the base for many of the following ideas... Or enjoy for breakfast with natural yoghurt and homemade muesli. Freezes well for winter use too.

2. Rhubarb Crumble: Stew rhubarb as above, and pop in an ovenproof dish. Sometimes I dot frozen / fresh strawberries through. Cover with crumble of melted butter, brown sugar, muesli with extra dried cranberries and sunflower seeds. Cover and cook in a 180 degree C oven for 25 minutes. Uncover and finish cooking for 10 – 15 minutes, until the top is golden and crunchy. Serve with custard.

3. Rhubarb and Chilli Jam: Rhubarb with freshly chopped red chilli, divine. Add apple for pectin and a good ‘set’. Serve with goats cheese, or on toast, or in place of sweet chilli sauce.

4. Roast Rhubarb: Chop a few washed stems into chunks, and arrange in roasting pan. Sprinkle generously with brown sugar. Cover with tin foil and cook in a 180 degree C oven for 20 minutes. Uncover and finish cooking for 10 – 15 minutes. Roasted rhubarb keeps its shape and colour, so is perfect for decorated desserts, either warm or cold.

5. Rhubarb Gin: Chop around 400g washed rhubarb stalks into chunks, put in a big jar. Cover with a 700mL bottle of cheap supermarket gin, 50g white sugar and juice ½ lemon. Screw on the lid and shake. Leave somewhere and forget about it for a month. Shake occasionally. The gin will go pink. Remove rhubarb (gin infused rhubarb makes excellent roast rhubarb – see above). Enjoy with tonic on a summer’s day.

6. Rhubarb and Ginger Chutney: A simple chutney recipe from my allotment gurus, Val and John Harrison. They have an allotment in Wales and have published a collection of brilliant books on cooking and storing homegrown produce. Recipe here: The tangy flavour is perfect on oatcakes with blue cheese.

7. Rhubarb Cordial: For when you REALLY have too much rhubarb or old stalks. Cook a couple of kgs chopped stalks in a big pan, with a wee bit of water, until mushy. Strain pulp through a muslin, preferably overnight. Don’t squeeze (or it may go cloudy), just let it drip... For every Litre of juice you have, add 750g sugar and 75ml lemon juice. Heat until just below boiling point to dissolve the sugar, then bottle into sterilised bottles. Freezes well. Dilute with water (or Prosecco) to taste.

8. Rhubarb Muffins: Add chopped chunks of rhubarb to your favourite muffin recipe.

9. Rhubarb and Orange Jam: Kinda like marmalade. But less rindy. We get Seville oranges from Tattie Shaw’s, Leith Walk every February. Sometimes we miss marmalade month, but we always make this rhubarb and orange jam.

10. Rhubarb Leather: Fruit jerky is so handy and straightforward for snacking on-the-go. It’s worth investing in silicon baking trays for ease of removal. Make stewed rhubarb with extra sugar and a dash of vanilla essence. Zizz in a blender, then spread, still warm, on silicon trays (or greaseproof paper). Pop in an 80-degree oven for a few hours, the chopped fibre gives it a good texture. Peel off dried ‘leather’ and cut into strips. Hey presto – portable rhubarb!

Tracy Griffen is on Twitter

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