Although rhubarb is eaten as a pudding, the rhubarb plant is in fact a vegetable as it is the stalk that is cooked and eaten. Rhubarb has been used for hundreds of years as a cure for both constipation and diarrhoea dependent upon the quantity used (old books usually say a goodly portion for constipation and a nugget or two for diarrhoea).
The price of rhubarb in the shops is now at an all time high and in some places is around £3.00 for four sticks … so it is best to consider buying a plant. Rhubarb plants will thrive in the corner of the garden and provide several crops every year, which can be used in just a simple pudding or pie or made into a sumptuous compote for adding to ice cream or spreading on toast. Remember when growing rhubarb to only harvest the stalks – cut off the leaves for composting as they are deadly poison!
My young rhubarb plant next to some chives and nestling below a cowslip.
It is Monday, 4th May today and is a National holiday in England ~ Happy May Day Everyone!
Cooking: In general it is usually roughly cut or chopped in pieces measuring around one inch or two centimetres. Place in a saucepan - add one teaspoonful of sugar for each stem and one teaspoonful of water for each stem. Simmer slowly - rhubarb softens up (cooks) very quickly - it also produces a large amount of juice so doesn't need too much water added to it - just enough to stop it sticking to the saucepan bottom.