‘Do you want any rhubarb?’
I was dropping Lewis off at nursery last week, and inside the door lay a big basket of surplus rhubarb, fresh from one of the nursery staff’s plot.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve never seen so much rhubarb up for grabs before, and people are offering rhubarb out left, right, and centre.
A big bundle was left in our office rec room too, and there are honesty boxes outside countless houses in this corner of Essex.
I’m not sure what makes it a ‘good year for rhubarb’. I know that lots of Spring rain will help the strawberries, and hot Summers are a pre-requisite for a decent tomato crop, but as for rhubarb, I’m none the wiser.
All I do know is that is definitely appears good year for rhubarb.
Plenty of Muck Makes for Good Harvests!
On the allotment, we’re inundated, and I’ve been giving stalks away to friends and colleagues as well. The stalks are huge too – not just in thickness either, as this whopper shows.
I’m a size 9 by the way…
One interesting observation we’ve made is around feeding the crowns in Autumn. I was absent-minded with my garden rhubarb and only added some homemade compost to the crowns a couple of months ago.
At the plot (main pic), we heaped well-rotted manure on to the rhubarb bed last Autumn, as recommended, and the difference is massive. My garden patch is still productive, but the stalks are much, much thinner than the allotment equivalent.
A reminder to treat my garden rhubarb to some decent muck is already in the calendar for 2015.
Cooking and Freezing
I’ve blogged some ideas as to how to cook with rhubarb before, but this year I’ve mainly been following this River Cottage recipe and baking the stems in honey. I find that this helps the fruit keep its shape better than stewing.
I’ve been eating the baked rhubarb with natural yoghurt, and also in porridge and muesli. I also whizzed some up in a smoothie too, which made a very tasty change to the banana one I normally make.
If you’ve baked as many crumbles as you can, and have exhausted foisted surplus harvests on your nearest and dearest, freezing for use during Winter is a good option.
Cut into 2-inch chunks, rhubarb freezes well and can be used straight from the freezer as you would fresh. There is no need to blanche or peel.