yorkshire Forced Rhubarb
Season: January to March
Grown in the so-called ‘Rhubarb Triangle’ in Yorkshire, this ingredient is truly unique. The plants start life outdoors before the crowns are lifted and packed tightly into forcing sheds. These sheds are heated and humid, which tricks the plants into believing it is spring and time to grow. The absence of light creates their neon-pink colour and delicate flavour.
FIVE IDEAS FOR FORCED RHUBARB
Pair cooked rhubarb with oily fish such as mackerel or fatty cuts of meat - duck or pork belly is ideal.
Poach the stems in a sugar syrup, infusing the syrup with spices such as vanilla, stem ginger or star anise.
Try in crumbles, muffins, trifles or a frangipane tart.
Use in sorbets, jellies or ice cream.
If you’re feeling adventurous, note that rhubarb is used in some savoury Persian recipes, too. Search for the meat dish ‘Khoresh Rivas’ online and give it a go!
RECIPE FOR BAKED FORCED RHUBARB
This is a simple method for cooking forced rhubarb. This can be served hot or cold. Lovely with custard as a dessert or granola for breakfast.
Cut the rhubarb into equal lengths, then arrange in a single layer in a baking dish. Sprinkle with plenty of brown sugar, add a splash of orange juice then wrap tightly in foil. (Some optional chopped stem ginger adds a gentle heat). Bake at 180°C until the rhubarb is tender but still holds it shape - around 20-25 minutes.