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Top tips for cooking with rhubarb

10 February 2017

As Yorkshire-folk we feel a special affection for rhubarb so we always look forward to the seasonal arrival of Yorkshire Forced Rhubarb. Visit our Café Tea Rooms to try treats which celebrate this winter speciality, such as Rhubarb Frangipane, but should you wish to try cooking it at home, we have some expert advice, courtesy of our Bettys Cookery School Tutors.

1. Rhubarb is acidic – you shouldn’t cook it in aluminium, copper, or iron pans that react. In metal pans, rhubarb turns brownish and the pan discolours. Instead, cook rhubarb in coated pans or glass baking pans.

2. If you harvest rhubarb late in the season, you may need to add more liquid to your recipe or reduce the thickener. Late stalks may not be as juicy.

3. Never eat the leaves as they are poisonous – only the stems are safe!

4. Rhubarb and ginger partner beautifully, which is why we matched them for one of our preserves.

5. If it’s out of season, rhubarb can be substituted for cranberries in recipes.

And here are some rhubarb facts that you can casually drop into conversation when serving your immaculate rhubarb crumble:

1. Rhubarb is a classic Yorkshire vegetable. Yes, you read right: though it’s most commonly associated with fruity desserts, rhubarb is, in fact a vegetable.

2. It has been traditionally grown in what’s known as the ‘Rhubarb Triangle’, an area of nine square miles in West Yorkshire between Morley, Wakefield and Rothwell.

3. In February 2010, Yorkshire Forced Rhubarb was awarded PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) by the European commission. This designation protects specialist regional products from imitation and is the same law that safeguards the authenticity of Camembert, Melton Mowbray pork pies and Champagne.

4. In the late 19th century, an express train carrying rhubarb was run by the Great Northern Railway Company from Ardsley station to London every weekday night from Christmas until Easter. Up to 200 tons of rhubarb was carried daily by the ‘Rhubarb Special’ at the peak of production.

More tips and recipes from Bettys Cookery School here

Visit our Café Tea Rooms to try our rhubarb specialities*, including Rhubarb Crumble, Rhubarb Frangipane, Rhubarb Tea and Sparkling Water Cocktail and Rhubarb Champagne Cocktail

*Please note: not all these items will be available at all times in all branches.

Posted in: Recipes