Along the Grapevine


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Rhubarb

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Rhubarb is not a wild plant, but once you have it, you have it forever. Mine was a good healthy plant when I moved to my current property almost three years ago, and it just keeps getting bigger and better. This may be the first year I can’t keep up with it – I use it for desserts, chutney and soups, and I freeze a good deal of it for the winter just by chopping it and storing it in the freezer in plastic bags. And if you like mixing your rhubarb with strawberries for pies, you might want to try other sweet fruits, such as apricots, blueberries, seedless grapes or dates.

This is a basic stewed recipe which, with minor alterations, can also be jam or filling. I used fresh ginger for flavouring, but vanilla, orange blossom or rosewater are also really good.

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Rhubarb Filling

This can be used for filling tarts, thumbprint cookies etc.

4 cups chopped rhubarb

1 cup sugar

1 Tbsp. freshly grated ginger

1 Tbsp. cornstarch

Mix the first three ingredients in a bowl and let sit overnight or several hours, until the sugar has become all liquid. At this point, add the cornstarch. Bring to a boil and then simmer for a few minutes, until the rhubarb is just tender, but not mushy, and the liquid has become translucent. Once cooled, fill baked tart shells, cookies etc.

Stewed Rhubarb

Do as above, omittting the cornstarch.

Rhubarb Jam

Same as for the stewed rhubarb, but continue to cook until it is a thick consistency.