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How to Cook with Forced Rhubarb

Publisher - Great British Food Awards
published by

NatashaLS

Jan 17, 2020
5 minutes to read
Image for blog - How to Cook with Forced Rhubarb

Lustrous pink in colour and tangy in flavour, unique and succulent forced rhubarb is always a treat at this time of year

Rhubarb is actually a vegetable (it’s related to sorrel and dock) but it’s bright pink stalks are treated as a fruit despite their tart flavour. Delicious in both sweet and savoury dishes, rhubarb is also a great source of potassium, helping to keep our blood pressure healthy and our muscles functioning properly.

There are two different types of rhubarb: forced and naturally grown. Forced is in season now; it’s luminous pink in colour, tender and doesn’t have the stringiness that you sometimes get with outdoor grown rhubarb. It also holds its shape better when cooked. By forcing it to grow, you get to enjoy rhubarb about six to eight weeks before the natural season’s crop - what’s not to love?

How to grow it

Forced rhubarb has to be grown in complete darkness, usually under pots or special sheds, and is traditionally picked by candlelight to avoid photosynthesis turning the stems green. It’s famously grown in Yorkshire’s famous ‘rhubarb triangle’ around Leeds, Wakefield and Bradford, where there is also an annual festival in celebration of the coveted crop.

How to prep it

Go for firm, crisp, plump stalks and perky leaves with good colour. Rhubarb leaves are toxic so should never be eaten - cut them off and discard. Forced rhubarb should be tender enough not to need peeling; just wash, then trim the top and bottom of the stalks and slice.

How to store it

Rhubarb wilts quite quickly so you will need to store it in the fridge and eat within a couple of days - keep the leaves on until you’re ready to eat it, as they’ll help keep it fresh. You can also store rhubarb in the freezer so you can enjoy it all year round: cut stalks into pieces, lay them flat on a parchment-lined tray and freeze until firm. Once your rhubarb is frozen transfer it into bags and store in the freezer for up to a year.

8 Delicious Rhubarb Recipes

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Rick Stein’s Rhubarb Galette

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Rhubarb & Orange Trifle

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Spiced Rhubarb Cake with Cinnamon Cream

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Confit Duck with Sweet & Sour Rhubarb

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Fiona Beckett’s Rhubarb Cordial

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Sparkling Rhubarb Cocktail

Image for blog - How to Cook with Forced Rhubarb

Rhubarb Shortbread & Ginger Cream

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Dutch Pancake With Rhubarb & Orange Cream

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