Rhubarb has a rich, tart ﬂavour to savour and spring is the season to make the most of it. A vegetable treated as a fruit, this perennial plant is easy to grow and ready to enjoy now. Its stalks, cooked with a sprinkling of sugar to tame the tang are perfect in puddings.Rhubarb is also a great addition to dishes to other than just desserts, it can add a tart twist to traditional meals such as the roast dinner.
Does rhubarb remind you of any vegetables? Celery perhaps? This may be because rhubarb is technically a vegetable as it has no seeds, pips or stone.
June is the month that it is at its best. The colour of its stalk shows you how sweet it will be, the more intense the red, the sweeter it will be, so opting for the deeper red stalks means you can avoid adding so much sugar to it when cooking. Rhubarb can be the winning ingredient of crumbles, jellies, tarts, chutneys and cakes and with its vegetable status it is being used increasingly in savoury dishes, made possible by its rich, tart flavour. Rhubarb chutney makes an excellent accompaniment to gammon and meaty fish dishes and it also pops up as an ingredient in salads, it works well with goats cheese.
When buying rhubarb it is common for the leaves to be removed, so you are just buying the stalks, this is because the leaves are poisonous due to the amount of oxalic acid that they contain. Those working on rhubarb farms must wear gloves when harvesting as too much skin contact with the leaves can be dangerous causing burns. The stalks are the edible part of the plant though and they are completely safe to consume.
Take a look at our very own Rhubarb Fool recipe, an indulgent summertime treat, easy to make and it requires few ingredients.