The romance of early rhubarb

Rhubarb polenta cakes

The sight of the first forced, prettily pink rhubarb in the shops really lifts my spirits this time of year.

Did you know it is picked by candle light? How romantic is that!

A few rhubarb facts

Nutrition: rhubarb is very low in calories, about 21 per 100g and it contains lots of vitamin C and fibre.

History: rhubarb was first grown on the banks of the Volga in Siberia and used as a medicinal plant as early as 2,700BC. Marco Polo brought the plant to Europe where it arrived in Britain in the 16th century and it was then used to treat stomach and liver complaints.

Varieties: there are about 50 (!) species of rhubarb.

Harvesting: strikingly pink, forced rhubarb is picked by candlelight in heated forcing sheds – somehow, this seems entirely appropriate for such a pretty, delicate vegetable.

Recipes + suggestions to follow….


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