In Britain, rhubarb was the sweet vegetable of choice before tropical fruits such as pineapple became more readily available. It wasn’t just popular in Britain, but across Europe with 90% of the world’s forced rhubarb produced in West Yorkshire. Forced rhubarb was discovered by accident in the 1800’s when builders placed sand on top of young rhubarb, keeping it hidden from sunlight and learnt that the original green had turned into a vibrant pink and became considerably sweeter. Forced rhubarb farms sprung up across the north of England creating what was known as the rhubarb triangle, and the crop became one of the main trades in Yorkshire.
Forced rhubarb is grown in caverns where the only light is from a small selection of candles, this makes the stalks sweeter because the carbohydrates that are stored in the roots when the plant is outside turn into glucose which in turn makes the stalk bright pink. You can see your taste test for yourself, if when cutting rhubarb you place a piece with a greener outside and green flesh on your tongue you will find it’s significantly
You can see your taste test for yourself, if when cutting rhubarb you place a piece with a greener outside and green flesh on your tongue you will find it’s significantly tarter than a slice with a pinker outside and white flesh. The variety in just one rhubarb stem and personal tolerance to tanginess means that it’s hard to dictate how much sugar you should use, so you should always taste as you go. Remember you can always add more, but you can never take away.
At NUBI we think that rhubarb is more than just crumble and pie. There are so few foods that have the intensity and instant recognisable status that rhubarb has that are also incredibly healthy – there are only 21 calories per hundred grams, contain all the important vitamins and are good source of magnesium – yet it’s still widely ignored. Even now, as it starts to crawl its way back up the cool ladder, it’s mainly being used in desserts when it works so well in savoury dishes.
Rather than sharing a full rhubarb dish with you, we’ve decided to share a rhubarb and ginger sauce. This sauce is more of a compote than a smooth sauce with beautifully soft pieces of stewed rhubarb to bite onto, however if you’d like to make more of a puree The ginger compliments the rhubarb by adding to the freshness and creating a truly taste bud blowing experience.
You will need;
250g rhubarb, peeled and chopped into chunks
2tbsp sugar (or more to taste)
A medium thumb of ginger
- Finely dice your shallot and fry it for 2-3 minutes in a little butter until it is translucent and fragrant. If you can’t find a shallot use half a small onion.
- Add your rhubarb to the pan with top up with hot water until half of the rhubarb is covered. Peel your ginger and grate it straight into the pan.
- Stir occasionally and cook for about 15 minutes over a medium heat until the rhubarb has softened.
- Whilst the sauce is still hot stir in the sugar and taste. Add more if you feel it needs it.
This sauce works across savoury and sweet dishes. Whilst it’s hot why not serve it on pork chops? You could also use it as a base for marinades or include a little to add a fruity hint to sauces and stews. You could simply add it to ice cream, yogurt to create a delicious dessert. The important thing is to use it quickly, as it will only last a few days in the fridge. Let us know what rhubarb creations you make and remember to send your pictures to @NUBI_HUB