Sunday, March 10

Just a lot of rhubarb.

The word festival conjures up all sorts of different pictures doesn't it? Brightly coloured costumes, carnival music, dancing, concerts? Here in Wakefield things are a little different - Friday 22 to Sunday 24 February was Wakefield Festival of Food, Drink and Rhubarb. That's right rhubarb is the star of the show - in fact until fairly recently it had the festival to itself. 

Wakefield falls within the mysterious rhubarb triangle that I have posted about before on my blog here. I describe it as mysterious as there are at least three different interpretations as to where the triangle actually is - you can read more about this on my website here.

Rhubarb is so fêted in these parts that we even have statues of it. Have a look at the one below ...

and the one below in Horbury very near to our allotment site looks more like ferns to me!
The sculptures have invited quite a bit of controversy not least for the cost.

The village of Carlton is famous for its rhubarb production, so much so that there were moves to rename the village Rhubarb. This plan never came to fruition (imagine giving your address as Rhubarb) but the village sign reflects its rhubarb connections.
I think the images and sculptures show that rhubarb doesn't easily lend itself to aesthetic interpretation! Or maybe it's just me and you really like them.

We didn't go to the festival but it seems like a good time to mention how the rhubarb on our plot is coming along.We grow several varieties of rhubarb including Timperley Early, Champagne, Giant Crimson Grooveless, Raspberry, Stocksbridge Arrow and Victoria. The idea is that this extends the season as some varieties produce earlier than others but our selection is only a tiny selection of the amazing number of varieties that are available.

The air around our parts must be charmed as rhubarb grows very successfully on our plot. Four roots are planted in one bed. The largest clump is Timperley Early which as its name suggests is an early producer.
Other clumps of rhubarb scattered around the plot are at different stages of growth.
At least one neglected clump is still thriving despite being choked with grass and weeds.
We don't force our rhubarb preferring it to grow naturally. These photos were taken about a fortnight ago when we last visited the plot so maybe by now some will be ready for picking and it won't be long before we can enjoy crumbles and maybe some rhubarb crumble muffins.

So what is your favourite way of enjoying this 'fruit' that is really a vegetable.


Copyright: Original post from Our Plot at Green Lane Allotments http://glallotments.blogspot.co.uk/ author S Garrett

34 comments:

  1. What an enjoyable celebration of rhubarb! I had no idea there were sculptures of it. I know someone who dips raw rhubarb in sugar and eats it (I shudder at the thought). I love rhubarb in all its delicious pudding guises and was given a jar of delicious homemade rhubarb and ginger chutney recently, so given a half-decent crop, I'll be dusting down my jam pan.

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  2. Ooh, your rhubarb looks fantastic! Quite envious, as you've seen our "show" so far!!
    I think Rhubarb would be a great address to live at - Carlton sounds a bit dull now I know that :-)

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    1. I'm hoping it has progressed Belinda

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  3. What a load of rhubarb! Just joking, lovely post Sue
    Rhubarb is very photogenic. We have nearly a crumble's worth of our own Timperley Early in York but this cold weather has stopped ours in its tracks.

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    1. But doesn't make for good sculpture designs Roger or is it me being a Philistine?

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  4. How wonderful to have so much rhubarb!! Our patch is covered in snow, but once that's off, and the bed gets warm, it will come poking through the ground. I see a rhubarb crumble in your future ;-)

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    1. I do hope your crystal ball reading is accurate, Bren!

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  5. Gosh, when I looked a few days ago my rhubarb hadn't even opened it's eyes let alone started to wake up properly (as you will see for yourself next weekend, whoo hoo!!!)

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    1. Looking forward to it Bilbo - do you charge admission onto your estate?

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    2. Oh yes Sue, an exorbitant amount - but only to deter folk whom we want to keep out :} :} :}

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  6. I hope that one day I amlucky enough to have a Rhubarb patch as impressive as yours! I love the stuff, but I only have space for a small amount.
    I agree with you about the rhubarb / fern statue. They definitely got that one wrong. And the statue in your first photo looks nothing like rhubarb - more like a giant Crocus.
    If I get a decent crop I will be making roast rhubarb with ginger and orange again. It's become a firm favourite.

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    1. I don't know what I think the first one looks like Mark but not rhubarb!

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  7. I love making rhubarb wine. It is soo good. I love the sculpture of the unraveling leaves. Very cool.

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  8. I had a poke about in the greenhouse this morning and noticed some nice red buds on the rhubarb I bought from Swillington last year. I've kept it in it's pot and overwintered it in the greenhouse, but it's destined for the plot.

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    1. We usually start the crowns off in pots too Jo - what type is yours?

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    2. I thought it was Timperley Early, but I've just checked back on my blog and it's actually Stockbridge Arrow. That's the good thing about blogging, you've always got a note of things. It's saved me a trek out to the greenhouse in the snow to check.

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  9. Rhubarb is a really weird plant but intriguing - you certainly have enough to feed the whole of Yorkshire I shouldn't wonder. Mine is nowhere near as forward as yours yet. I enjoy the first few sticks when they are harvested but I get fed up of it pretty quickly.

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    1. Maybe yours is a later variety Elaine. We freeze lots of ours.

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  10. Hi Sue, I do not have a rhubarb yet. Can you believe it? But, Bonnie assures me you can make wine out of it. For this reason alone, I am interested in growing it! haha! Cheers, Jenni

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    1. You can make just about anything from it Jenni. At one time it was used quite a lot in jams to bulk out the fruit content and it can also be made into a sauce for using with pork or mackerel.

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  11. Oh, I would not have guessed those statues had anything to do with rhubarb! Although the ones that looks like ferns are quite nice.
    I used to grow rhubarb in Norway, it was always a race to get them ready to eat by 17th May, our national day. On that day we would have rhubarb as a sweet compote with cream or ice cream, but I like rhubarb as a jam on pancakes or on my Greek yoghurt. It is also wonderful together with plums (if you have any preserved or in the freezer) and sugar and a pinch of cinnamon, just barely boil and let it fall apart so the plum skins and stones can be lifted out.

    I miss having rhubarb in the garden and I do sometimes buy them in the supermarket. I always get disappointed though, they taste nowhere near what mine used to taste!

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    1. We use it as a compote with yoghurt too Helene. Ginger is also often used with rhubarb.

      Most of the rhubarb sold in shops is forced which maybe accounts for the different flavour.

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  12. So much about rhubarb....although I don't think the sculptures or signs look like rhubarb at all!! I only have the one bit of rhubarb growing at the moment but I think I will be putting a few more in on the 'bee site' in the year to come. I guess we mainly make crumble with it but would like to try a few different things when i have more available. I have to say I have got a lot more adventurous with trying new things out when I know I can just go and harvest a bit more!!

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    1. Try ones that produce at different times Tanya

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  13. I miss the chance to grow them. But if I ever have a chance, it will be on top of my list.

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    1. I think your climate would be too warm for it Diana. It quite likes cold.

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  14. I do like the 2nd sculpture in your post but I agree it doesn't look like rhubarb! I'm looking forward to harvesting my first rhubarb in a few weeks, I planted Timperly Early and its coming on well. Didn't harvest any last year to help it bulk up but definitely going to pick some this time.

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  15. It's Rhubarb celebration time!!

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    1. It certainly will be when we pull some Malar.

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  16. I've read about it being a good accompaniment to mackerel, I'll definitely be trying that once ours grows a bit more. Gooseberry is also great with mackerel, as is anything with some bitterness or acidity I suppose. Great post!

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    1. I'd probably try it if I liked mackerel Lee, Trouble is I'm not a fish fan if it has skin, bones, eyes or fins!

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