A: One of the greatest pleasures of growing your own is the harvest. Growing rhubarb is quite easy as long as the soil and the position of the plant for right amount of sunshine is carefully chosen. The plant needs a rich, well-manured position in full sun. The harvesting season is from March to late July. Although it is possible to get rhubarbs after July, it is probably not a good idea to harvest as the plants need time to grow and store reserves for the following year.
We are very lucky to have an established area at the centre of our fruit garden dedicated to some very faithful rhubarb plants. During season it is always a pleasure to return to the kitchen with a handful of red rhubarb stalks after pottering around in the garden. Nothing gives me more pleasure than to make some rhubarb crumble for tea. It is quite easy to make and tastes of spring in every bite.
N: When I make rhubarb crumble I use half the sugar and half the butter. The outcome is very tangy and not for the faint hearted. It is as they say an acquired taste. A’s recipe is wholesome and yet special.
A: Here’s how I make the crumble on a baking tray. I have also baked smaller portions in ramekins by suitably reducing the proportions.
500 gm of rhubarb cut into 3 cm pieces
4 tbsp caster sugar
1/2 cup demerara sugar
1 cup wholemeal flour
1 cup plain white flour
50 gm cold butter cut into cubes
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
Hint of nutmeg, finely grated or powdered
1 tbsp finely grated fresh ginger
Pre-heat the oven to 180°C. Mix the rhubarb pieces with the caster sugar and place in a baking tray. Add a little water and roast in the oven for 10 minutes.
In a bowl mix the wholemeal and white flours with the demerara sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Rub in the butter to get a mixture which appears like bread crumbs.
Pat the rhubarbs just out from the oven and add the ginger distributing it evenly. Form a layer of the flour mix uniformly till the rhubarb is completely covered. Bake for 35-40 minutes, uncovered, till there is a golden crust. Take it out from the oven and enjoy slightly warm.