Forcing Rhubarb

What a difference a couple of days sunshine and warmer nights makes. My rhubarb has now poked its head out of the ground and it is time to force it.

Forcing rhubarb is a very old way of making it grow faster so that you get an earlier crop. It means the sticks are thinner and more tender. You can use almost anything to cover the rhubarb crowns as long as it excludes the light, a bucket does very well. However, I feel that if you are doing this, you may as well make it attractive.

To this end, I would recommend rhubarb forcers which look like those the Victorians used.

traditional rhubarb forcer

They are bell shaped and traditionally made of terrcotta. However, you can now get some made of plastic.

rhubarb forcer

The plastic rhubarb forcers are much lighter and therefore easier to move around but it also means that they are more prone to be blown about should you have heavy winds.

People often think that rhubarb is a very limited fruit. Well, actually it is a vegetable. This is because you eat the stem, not the fruit. It is easy to grow and can be harvested and although it is most useful as a dessert, It can be used as an accompaniment to a number of meat dishes. I like mine coked with a little ginger, this seems to take some of the sharpness away and you need to add less sugar. However you eat it, its delicious and a very good provider of fibre as well as vitamins.

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