Rhubarb – local and seasonal food at its best

The rhubarb season is upon us. The first fruit of the year, luscious pink stems, it’s a bit of a Marmite food, you either love it or loath it, and it’s actually a vegetable!

In the Rhubarb Triangle, between Bradford, Leeds and Wakefield, which is famous for the forced rhubarb it produces in winter and early spring, the rhubarb grows so fast you can actually hear it pop when the buds burst open and there is said to be a constant creaking during growing season.  I’ve yet to hear it in the garden!

Now in mid-spring, gardens and allotments around the country are being graced with elegant pink stems. This is local seasonal food at its best.

Once confined to pies, jams or a stem dunked into a bag of sugar, rhubarb is having a renaissance in popularity and is added to everything, from soups, salads and gravies to elevated interpretations of jams, gins, cheeses, beers, pickles, ice creams and pies.

Here at CLEAR, we make rhubarb cordial and a selection of rhubarb jams; Rhubarb & Vanilla, Rhubarb & Ginger and Rhubarb & Strawberry, which will be available when our shop re-opens in May.

Here are a couple of my favourite rhubarb recipes that are really easy to make.

Rhubarb sorbet                                                                                       BBC Good Food             

A refreshing rhubarb sorbet that keeps well in the freezer – a great way of using up rhubarb if you’ve grown too much!

500g rhubarb

225g caster sugar

Juice of 1 lemon

150ml water

1. Wash, trim and cut the rhubarb into 1 inch chunks.

2. Place rhubarb, sugar, lemon juice and water in a pan and gently cook until soft, around 15-20 minutes.

3. Allow rhubarb to cool then blend mixture in a liquidizer until smooth

4.Freeze in an air-tight container stirring every hour to prevent ice crystals forming until set, around 4-6 hours. Alternatively use an ice cream maker to churn then store in an air-tight container and freeze for around 4 hours until set.

5. Lovely served with baked bananas, a nutty cake (especially pistachios) or on its own!

Rhubarb Crumble Cake


3 oz all purpose flour

3 oz caster sugar

3 oz soft butter

1-2 tsp ground ginger powder

2 eggs

12 oz rhubarb, 1 inch pieces

2-3 Tbsp caster sugar

3 oz all purpose flour

2 oz butter, cold

1 oz caster sugar


1. Set oven at 190 degrees, line an 8 inch cake tin.

2. Sift flour and ginger into a bowl.

3. Add butter, sugar and eggs beat till smooth.

4. Spoon into cake tin and level surface.

5. Cut rhubarb into 1 inch pieces and mix with the 2-3 tablespoons of sugar.

6. Place over the top of cake batter.

7. Sift flour into a bowl.

8. Cut cold butter into small pieces.

9.Stir in sugar, then press together to form large pieces.

10. Sprinkle over top of rhubarb

11. Bake in middle of oven and bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

12. Cool in tin. Slice and enjoy on it’s own or with custard or whipped cream.

Further information local seasonal food available on:

On The Table

ND Health Facts

Sustain Web

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