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Rhubarb week: Week 6 of BigBarn’s food and drink weeks

It is hard to believe that it is that time of year again. Rhubarb time! Yep, rhubarb season technically starts now and while it may not have appeared in your garden yet you will be able to buy some forced rhubarb from local shops now.

In the midst of those dark January days comes a truly wonderful product that is sure to put a smile on your face – Yorkshire’s pink-tipped forced rhubarb in all its sharp and tangy glory.

Unique to the Yorkshire triangle (Wakefield-Leeds-Morely), forced rhubarb has been harvested in the dark by candlelight for over 150 year, with the silence broken only by the crack of stalks of rhubarb puncturing the earth.

With EU protected status, forced rhubarb is a truly magnificent product boasting slender, sweet and tender stalks that are far more robust than the outdoor grown variety. They range in colour from delicate blush pink to a deep crimson red and are only available between January and March so get your fill before it’s too late.

If you are thinking about planting some rhubarb in your garden then you really can’t go wrong with rhubarb. It is one of the easiest vegetables to grow and is perfect for first time gardeners and now is the time to sow. Actually it is so easy you can sow it from October right through until March so don’t feel that you have missed your chance. It will need to be in a partially shady spot with good drainage and decent soil.

Harvesting rhubarb is from April through to March although I must admit I have gone right up to early september as long as you don’t mind it being a bit tart and a little woody. As tempting as it might be, it is highly recommended not to harvest your rhubarb in its first year. Yes you will have to wait a whole year but you will thank yourself later for holding off because you will then be able to enjoy it year after year.

It is a most spectacular vegetable and perfect with strawberries, raspberries, in crumbles and even with belly of pork. For more recipes check out our website here or take a look at our recipe of the day page for a rhubarb recipe everyday this week. We will also be talking about it on our Facebook page so why not head across and “like” us and support local this year.

You can find all your rhubarb needs on our local food map. Or you can buy rhubarb and rhubarb products direct from our MarketPlace.


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