Rhubarb is making a brilliant comeback and for a plant native to Siberia, it is very easy to grow and harvest requiring only cold or warm weather, water and nitrogen to thrive. By selecting two different varieties such as Timperely Early and Victoria you can have a nutritious crop throughout Spring and the Summer; freezing any surplus is also very easy.
West End celebrity chefs now rave over "forced" (NOT blanched) Yorkshire rhubarb, grown by candlelight in long, low, heated forcing sheds in the legendary "Rhubarb Triangle", an area between Leeds, Bradford and Wakefield, situated in the shadows of the Pennines and a natural frost pocket. It is still not grown in the quantities it once was - so much was cultivated in the inter-war period that trains known locally as the "Rhubarb Express" would ship the cream of the new season's crop down the line for use in London's best restaurants and top notch eateries.
Rhubarb Betty (English / Yorkshire recipe)
Preperation time: 15 minutes
This is an easy & cheap recipe, which can be adapted to use any surplus seasonal fruit .
If there’s any left over, it tastes even better the next day!
2.5 pint ovenproof dish
1.5 pounds of trimmed rhubarb
4 oz fresh breadcrumbs
3 oz brown sugar
3 oz vegetarian suet
Grated rind of one lemon
Teaspoon of ground ginger
1. Grease a 2.5 pint ovenproof dish.
2. Cut 1.5lb of wiped, trimmed rhubarb into short lengths.
3. Mix together 4oz fresh white breadcrumbs, 3oz Demerara sugar, 3oz shredded vegetarian suet and the grated rind of one lemon. To this mix add 1 level teaspoon of ground ginger to taste.
4.Put half the fruit in the dish & cover with half the crumb mixture. Add the remaining fruit and top with the rest of the crumble mix.
5. Dot with a few knobs of butter. Bake in the oven at 180oC / 350oF (mark 4) for about 45mins, or until the fruit is soft & the topping crisp.
6. Add low fat ice cream or frozen yogurt to top for extra yum!
This article first appeared on <http://www.yorkshirerhubarb.co.uk/> visit to find a selection of recipes, cultivation details, and order a range of varieties.