Rhubarb

Rhubarb

Not many people are ambivalent about rhubarb. Do you love it or hate it?

I like to have a clump of rhubarb in the garden that, with little effort on my part, reliably pops up every year. First the tiniest spear emerges, followed by a bright green crinkly leaf that gradually unfolds as the rhubarb rises from the ground.

We seem to have two different varieties; one produces long, slim deep pink stems and the other stout, green stems with just a touch of red that grow almost as thick as my wrist if I leave them for too long.

Mostly I just mix chopped rhubarb with some sugar and a couple of tablespoons of water and bung it in the oven for 15 minutes to make a compote. A dash of sloe gin negates the furry tongue syndrome as do a few strawberries.

The compote can be eaten on its own, with yoghurt or folded into a custard and cream mixture to make a fool, though I only use the red rhubarb for that as the green stems make a rather sludgy looking fool. I’ve frozen plenty of rhubarb crumbles so that on cold winter days I can quickly heat them up to to eat surrounded by a moat of custard.

There are a few more ways to use rhubarb below.