In the depths of winter, the vegetables at the market tend to be various hues of emerald green, burnt umber, and beige or brown. Right around now, however, a punk-pink renegade breaks the mould and brings its celebratory fluorescence to the table. Forced rhubarb is tricked into an early harvest by being grown in warmed barns in an area of west Yorkshire known as the Rhubarb Triangle.
The excitement of a new seasonal ingredient often leads me to over-buy, and rhubarb is no exception. This leaves me with a glut, and a need for new recipes and ideas to turn it into something edible before it starts to brown, bruise and liquefy into something undesirable. Luckily, rhubarb can be used in a huge range of dishes, both sweet and sour.
Fresh, raw forced rhubarb, finely diced, is a lovely addition to chopped salads, bringing acidity and colour. As it ages, however, it is best cooked. My last book, The Natural Cook, features a recipe for pork and rhubarb tagine that is always well received. To make it, follow any pork tagine recipe and swap the dried fruit for rhubarb. But my go-to sweet for excess rhubarb is, of course, a crumble, and if I’m short of time, I’ll turn to this vibrant granita.
Make the most of the bright-pink colour of forced rhubarb with this quick and easy pudding. Granita is refreshing and light, so it’s perfect for the end of any large, celebratory meal. Please note that, unlike most other vegetables that I would encourage eating in their entirety from root to fruit, rhubarb leaves are poisonous and should never be eaten, so put them straight on the compost heap instead. Incidentally, this recipe works well with any fruit or vegetable that needs using up, so experiment with other ingredients when you have them surplus.
Makes 6-8 portions200g rhubarb
In a covered saucepan, heat the roughly chopped rhubarb stalks with 150ml water for three minutes, or until soft.
Blend in the maple syrup or sugar, then pour the mix into a shallow container and leave to cool.
Transfer to the freezer and, once the mix has frozen, either grate the ice or scratch it into flakes using a fork, and serve immediately.
- Roasted rhubarb pavlovas with yogurt sorbet recipe
- Rhubarb jam frangipane is the perfect bank holiday brunch recipe
- Blossom Hill launches GIN FIZZ in lemon and rhubarb flavours
- Rhubarb and ginger cake – Lawrence Murphy
- How to make the perfect bruschetta
- Rhubarb, rose and saffron shrub recipe
- US waste driving global garbage glut: study
- Gordon's heifer makes it a double at Canisbay Show
- Why the Mint stopped making 20p coins
- Miss England launches make up-free contest