rhubarb is back

Rhubarb is Back – What’s New This Year?

I remember when I used to fish, and subscribe to a sea angling mag. I’d sit in bed reading up, and my lovely wife would sit there and say ‘COD! BASS! COD! BASS!’.

Every year was the same, she’d venture. Early in the season, the front cover would say ‘Catch Spring Bass!’, followed by ‘Catch Monster Cod’ in Autumn. Of course, she was right, and after 6 years of blogging, I’m beginning to appreciate that writing an allotment blog is just as cyclical.

And sometimes it is tricky to find new angles on the veg each season. Let’s take rhubarb, for example, as we’re about to enter the wonderful rhubarb season.

Rhubarb is one of my favourite harvests of the year, and I’ve written lots about it since I started Real Men Sow. I lauded this wonderful fruit-cum-veg back in 2013 via Let’s Hear it for Rhubarb, I’ve been through a rhubarb cake making frenzy, suggested rhubarb as the perfect fruit for beginners, given some tips for Autumn rhubarb care and heralded 2015 as my best ever for rhubarb.

#rhubarbwatch and What’s New for Rhubarb?
And now Spring is upon us and the juicy pink stems have risen from the ground once more. I’m on daily #rhubarbwatch, mouth-watering, and ready to strike just as soon as they are big enough, and once more drawn to blog about the ‘barb.

Rhubarby Porridge
So is there anything new in the world of Real Men Sow rhubarb? Well, a few things have changed since I published ‘Let’s Hear it for Rhubarb!’. For one, I’m now quite keen on stewing my rhubarb rather than baking it. Only gentle stewing mine, I still like it to keep some form, but I find it makes a wonderful addition to porridge.

Having spent many a winter mocking my wife over ‘wallpaper paste breakfast’, I’ve given porridge a go and I’m now totally hooked. I love the stuff, and stewed rhubarb mixed into porridge with a drizzle of honey and a smattering of walnuts is a glorious variation on a cold morning.

I’ve quickly learnt to stir the rhubarb into the porridge whilst it is still on the hob though, to warm it through. No one likes cold porridge!

Freezing Rhubarb
I’ve been enjoying stewed rhubarb through the last couple of winters, thanks to a chat with my nan. I always used to let any surplus rhubarb die off, but nan told me she always used to freeze hers by cutting the stems into 2-inch chunks and popping into a freezer bag. This has been a very happy find as I’m now enjoying my favourite fruit for much longer.

New Late Cropping Varieties
I’ve also extended the rhubarb season by growing the new late variety, Livingstone. At first, I was torn about trying Livingstone, as it felt slightly against the grain of nature. Rhubarb is one of the first harvests, and the few months between late winter and early summer are almost set in stone. They’re the rhubarb season, how can this possibly change!

I can’t be a stick in the mud all my life though, and extending the season has to be a win-win, especially as I can use the later variety to top up my freezer. As it turns out, the three Livingstone crowns we put in on mum’s allotment have been really productive, even as young crowns.

Welcome back rhubarb, I’ve missed you.

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