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Plants of the genus Rheum, especially R. rhabarbarum, having long green or reddish acidic leafstalks that are edible when sweetened and cooked. Rhubarb is a perennial plant that grows from thick short rhizomes, comprising the genus Rheum. This genus is in the family Polygonaceae, along with dock, sorrel, knotweeds, knotgrasses and buckwheat. The large, somewhat triangular leaf blades are elevated on long, fleshy petioles. The flowers are small, greenish-white, and borne in large compound leafy inflorescences. Rhubarb is actually a vegetable, but is often used in food as a fruit. In the United States until the 1940s it was considered a vegetable. It was reclassified as a fruit when US customs officials, baffled by the foreign food, decided it should be classified according to the way it was eaten.

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      05.05.2010 16:12
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      A great summer fruit. Ask around to get it for free, loads of people grow it.

      Rhubarb is definitely in season at the moment, and my Dad has just moved into a house with a giant rhubarb plant so I thought I would review it and add a recipe.

      Due to the massive amounts of Rhubarb in my dads new garden, I have been investigating what to make with it, and trying out various things, so that it doesn't go to waste.

      It turns out that Rhubarb can sometimes be hard to grow, and depends a lot on soil quality as do most plants, but we have just left this alone and it seems to want to take over the garden. It also turns out the more you pick, the bigger it gets, which may sound ideal to some people, but actually makes me want to find loads of things to do with it so it's not wasted, and there is simply too much to cope with at the moment.

      I have found out that rhubarb is very versatile, but is mostly used for desserts, I would be interested to see if anyone has any savoury dishes that include rhubarb.

      Rhubarb is a very tart fruit and therefore whatever you make with it generally requires sugar, which makes it pretty unhealthy, but I'm not incredibly bothered about that.

      Apparently Rhubarb has a high amount of pectin in it, which makes it ideal for making jams, as it naturally sets on it's own. To make jam (I haven't actually tried this yet but someone told me) you just cut the rhubarb up and put it in a pan with some sugar and a small amount of water, when the rhubarb has turned to much you just blend it then put it in a jar. If you put a circle of greaseproof paper over the top of the jam it should stop it from going mouldy.

      I have made so far multiple crumbles and some ice cream, you can find various recipes for these on the internet.

      So far my favourite recipe has to be a Rhubarb Liqueur that I found on the internet. It's so simple and I have sampled mine already and it was amazing.
      All you need is 800g Rhubarb, 600g sugar, and a cheap 1litre bottle of vodka, I purchased sainsburys own for £7.00.
      To make it you just mix the rhubarb and sugar together and give it a good old mix, then pour over the vodka and leave (if you can resist the urge to drink it) for 4 weeks.
      After 4 weeks you can drain it through some muslin (I couldn't find this anywhere so bought a sling from boots, that is machine washable, does the job!) and then you are supposed to leave it for a month or so to mature, but as it already has vodka in it, it's still quite potent. I am doing mine in a big kilner jar to make it easier, but left the lid slightly open so it doesn't explode. It looks beautiful on the side in my kitchen with the now pink liquid at the bottom and the rhubarb at the top.

      I am only 2 weeks into mine and haven't drained it yet but did sample it the other day (purely to see if it was working), and it is beautiful. A potent sweet but tangy liqueur that is incredibly simple to make. After tasting I started another batch! So I have 2 litres on the go at the moment. It's hard not to get carried away!

      I also thought that I might make jam out of the rhubarb that is in the liqueur that would only be thrown away when its drained, but it might be a bit too potent as it's been soaked in vodka for so long, but I will update this review with results if I try it.

      I am loving Rhubarb at the moment, and if you can grow it, you can make so many things. It's very expensive in the supermarkets, so I would recommend asking around as a lot of people have it in their gardens, and my Dad is certainly glad to give it away to anyone who wants some.

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      08.04.2009 12:52
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      Rhubarb

      I like to grow as many fruit and vegetables as possible, both to save money and because I like to know where my food comes from! Rhubarb is probably one of the easiest plants to grow and needs very little attention.

      Rheum Rhaponticum, to give it its Latin name, originated from Siberia. It was introduced into Britain in the late 16th century although was not used as a food until a lot late. Most people think of Rhubarb as a fruit but technically it is a vegetable as it is the stem that is eaten and not the fruit.

      Growing Rhubarb is really simple. Rhubarb plants or crowns as they are known, are widely available form garden centres. They are usually sold as 1-year-old plants. To plant you will need to dig a hole a big bigger than the plant. Fill in with soil and add a small amount of compost. Then water well. I suggest you plant 3 crowns to start with and this should produce enough Rhubarb to keep a family of 4 well supplied!

      Rhubarb thrives in either full sun or partial shade. My Rhubarb gets very little sun as it is planted under trees. However it does very well, even though I tend to neglect it! If the weather is very dry then you it is best to water the Rhubarb, as it does like moist soil. Rhubarb will not suffer in the frost. In fact a frost is helpful to produce the best stalks in the spring. It is best not to harvest your Rhubarb in the first year after planting but leave it to become established. By the second year you should have strong, healthy plants that will produce good stalks. In the Spring it is important to remove any flowers you see developing as failure to do so will weaken the plant.

      Rhubarb is ready to harvest from about the middle of May and will continue to produce stalks until August. In the autumn I cover my plants with compost to help the soil retain water. I should warn you that Rhubarb leaves are poisonous to humans and should never be eaten! You will need to make sure dogs stay away and are not tempted to munch on them either!

      I like to force my Rhubarb as this growing method helps produce tender stalks. To do this all you need is a large clay pot and simply place over the Rhubarb as you see the stalks starting to grow. The plant is then deprived of light and will grow upwards in search of light. The stalks grow much more quickly when forced and taste better too!

      I like to use Rhubarb in a variety of recipes. My favourite is Rhubarb crumble-lovely served with ice cream! Rhubarb is also good to stew with a little sugar and then added to porridge. It can also be added to natural plain yoghurt. I have also used Rhubarb to make muffins with god results. Rhubarb can be used in savoury dishes too, although I only use it for sweet dishes. For lots of recipe ideas go to www.rhubarbrecipes.co.uk. Rhubarb is high in vitamin C and a good source of fibre. It has few calories and is low if fat.

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        08.06.2008 15:17
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        Anyone want some doobarb? I have plenty to spare....

        Rhubarb is one of those edible vegetable plants whose offerings you either love or hate. Originally from Asia, where it grows wild, it was first used medicinally. Rhubarb actually aids digestion by stimulating the production of more gastric juices and helps move the bile salts in the liver as well which helps regulate the absorption of fatty acids. In Europe, after its introduction for these traditional uses, it was discovered that it appealed to many palates when cooked and used as a fruit in puddings and main courses. Delicious it may be to many, but a word of caution as well.

        Rhubarb is high in oxalis, which is poisonous to humans and animals if eaten. Only the stems are edible, with the roots and leaves carrying potentially lethal amounts of the compound. It is therefore recommended that if you decide to grow this plant in your garden, that your children are closely supervised and warned of its dangers. Rhubarb is also considered highly ornamental, and persons with limited garden space, or who have no desire to eat it, often grow it in decorative beds for the large elephantine foliage and colourful red and green stems.

        Rhubarb, once established, will produce heavily, so once you find yourself getting five or six stalks on each plant, it is time to diivide up the root stock in order to give it a better chance at a good crop, as otherwise you will have some quite thick and hearty stalks and a few weak and weedy ones that are pretty useless. Always do this either in very early spring or in fall after the last cropping.It is also advisable to remove any flowers the rhubarb may produce upon first sighting, as otherwise excess oxalis is produced, making even the stalks potentially toxic and also diverting energy in growing the flower and not on developing nice hearty stalks.

        Green thumb wise, rhubarb is otherwise one of those plants that you can plop into the ground and ignore, and it will just geton with it. When we purchasedf this house, I noted there were about 4 rhubarb plants growing int he back garden. They had been there at least 20 years, and in deep need of division as they had tripled the root stock in size due to neglect during the past half decade. Never watered, in heavy soil, and never formally fertilised, we have had so much rhubarb that I have had to give away several ice cream tubs full of each crop. Pests leave this pretty well much alone, no doubt due to the toxins in the leaves being as unsuitable for them as it is for us. I have not even had the dreaded slimy guests bothering these.

        I say each crop as Rhubarb will start growing at the very beginning of spring, and its first crop, is often the best, as for a tasty and not so bitter flavour, a good frost is required once it has developed stalks. Rhubarb is ready for harvest when the stalks are shiny and can be removed from the plant with a gentle tug. N EVER cut the stalks, as it can lead to the dreaded crown rot as the resulting stump decomposes. A gentle tug when ready will completely remove the rhubarb and its exposed part of the root complete, which is as it should be.

        To use the stalks, wash thoroughly, and trim the stalk about an inch above the root and 1-2 inches below the leaf. This is to reduce exposure to the oxalis in those parts of the plant. You can then chop it into 1 inch peices and freeze as is, or stew it with sugar and make into pies, crumble, add to yogurt, use in a lamb dish, or even freeze the stewed results in ice cube trays for a quick cheat later.

        If, like myself, you are not a big fan of the rather tart rhubarb itself, you may find it more appealing with strawberries. Strawberries and rhubarb complement each other fantasticly, and to be quite frank, its the only way rhubarb passes these lips. Suggestions for this combo is limitless: pie, crumble, a custardy ice cream, or even strawberry rhubarb ice lollies made by making up a strawberry milk jelly, adding more liquid that stated so it will only softset, adding the stewed rhubarb, and freezing into ice lolly molds. Delicious!

        So, easy to grow, pretty pest free, deorative, and of nutritional and medicinal value. Just watch those kids around it :)

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          18.05.2008 21:53
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          Verstatile, tasty, healthy vegetable

          Rhubarb, botanically speaking, is a vegetable, not a fruit as commonly thought. It originated in northern China and Tibet where it grows quite prolifically in the wild. Once you plant your rhubarb in your garden it will come up every year, although it disappears during winter. It's a perennial plant.

          Good rhubarb needs a bit of care and attention. It needs lots of sunlight, plenty of water and the flower stalks should be removed as soon as they are seen. It's a long process to get a good crop of rhubarb. It isn't advisable to pick it at all during the first year. In the second one a light picking won't harm the plan but avoid harvesting too much. By the third year you should have a decent crop to eat and plenty to freeze too.

          If you are the kind of gardener who just likes to leave things to their own devices you can still grow rhubarb. It is a very hardy plant and will put up with a lot of neglect, although, if you want a good crop you will need to follow the suggestions outlined above.

          Rhubarb season in UK is about April to September, depending where you live.

          So, what can you do with rhubarb, apart from stewing it to eat with custard?


          I use stewed rhubarb to flavour low fat plain yogurt. It's lovely. It can also be made into pies and crumbles. If you are feeling more adventurous it make a fabulous jam if you add ginger to it. Then there is rhubarb chutney which is really easy to make with vinegar and spices.

          Nutritionally, rhubarb is excellent for those who are watching their weight. It is 85% water. An 85g portion of rhubarb which is about two thirds of a cupful, has:

          20 calories
          0 fat
          0 saturated fat
          0 cholesterol
          0 sodium
          4gm carbohydrate
          2gm fibre
          1gm sugars
          1gm protein

          It also provides 10% daily requirement of vitamin C, and 8% of the calcium.


          This is one of my favourite desserts and I like my rhubarb stewed until the pieces break up totally. It is goods on ice cream and with custard. I think it is so enjoyable because its a seasonal vegetable and I don't get fed up with eating it.

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            10.03.2008 12:02
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            a brilliant yielding plant once established that comes back each year

            We have a lovely rhubarb plant in our vegetable garden, i brought it from B&Q 3 years ago for £3.50.

            I have planted it in a very sunny spot as rhubarb needs a lot of direct sunlight, it didnt grow very well for the first two years but last summer we had a lovely crop of rhubarb off the plant.

            You can cut the stems of rhubarb off as soon as they are ready which is usually april to august, at the begining of the season they are sofer getting more stringy as they get older.

            Cut off any flowers that appear as they are a waste of the plants energy that could be used to grow the rhubarb.

            I have never trimed the leaves back on mine but do cut off any rhubarb left at the begining of august , my rhubarb plant has come back stronger and stronger every year and is now getting stems of about 2 foot and hopefully in a few more weeks it will be looking lovely and ready to start eating again.

            I dont use any fertilisers on mine but manuer is recomended but i didnt like the idea of eating something that had been near poo so i use a tomato feed instead which seems to do the job briliantly.

            One thing to remember with rhubarb though is that the leaves cannot be eaten as they are poisonus.

            Dont worry if you have lots of rhubarb left over in august as you can boil this and freeze it for use through the winter.

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              20.03.2003 04:56
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              Rhubarb originally came from Asia, where it was mainly used for its medicinal purposes. When it came here we discovered that it is also good to eat and made many a delicious recipe. Rhubarb is a perennial plant that reaches a height of about 3 feet. It has very large green leaves (Don't eat the leaves: their oxalic acid content makes them poisonous) The long reddish/green colour stalks are what the plant is prized for. Who remembers as a child being given a stick of rhubarb with sugar sprinkled down its centre. Just like when we put a line of salt down a stick of celery?. I do? Rhubarb is thicker than celery and seems slightly hollowish? If you let Rhubarb mature it becomes bitter to the taste, so I suggest that you either pick it or buy it mid way in the season. Rhubarb recipes Rhubarb Crumble 1lb (500g) Rhubarb 4ozs (125g) caster sugar 3ozs (75g) butter 6ozs (175g) plain flour 30zs (75g) Demerara sugar Top and tail the t rhubarb stem/stalk, then chop it into small pieces. Put it in a saucepan with the caster sugar and just enough water to cover the bottom of the pan. Cook gently for about 15 minutes until tender, then place in a 2pt casserole dish. Preheat oven to 180C- Gas mark 4. Sift the flour into a mixing bowl. Rub in the butter till it looks like breadcrumbs, then stir in the Demerara sugar. Spread the crumble mixture over the rhubarb, and bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes. Serve with custard. RHUBARB AND GINGER CAKE 1½lb/600g fresh rhubarb 4oz/100g butter 3oz/75g sugar 2 eggs 4oz/100g flour 1tsp/5ml ground ginger For the topping 3oz/75g butter 4oz/100g flour 2oz/50g sugar icing sugar to finish Preheat the oven to 180°C-Gas mark 4. Top and tail the rhubarb and chop into pieces. Cream the butter and sugar together then
              add the eggs. Fold in the flour and the ground ginger. Put the mixture into a greased 8in tin. Then add the rhubarb and sprinkle with sugar. Make the topping by rubbing the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs and stir in the sugar. Put it on top of the rhubarb. Bake for about 45 mins. Allow to cool and dust with icing sugar. A few points to remember, if you pick Rhubarb that is to old it will have a woody texture, just like older turnips do. So always pick it half way through season. You can always freeze it until a later date if you have grown too much. Thanks for the read

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                14.05.2002 02:58
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                ... although most of us eat it. As my alltime favourite fruit type plant (although it is technically a veggie, yes a surprise I know) and a cool sounding category, I fell that I should dedicate a little review to rhubarb. Assuming that everybody knows what rhubarb tastes like (it is hard to describe, quite tart but tangy too) and as you all know the main ingrediant of rhubarb is ,of course, rhubarb, I will just have to stick to how to grow one of the few things I actually can grow (along with geraniums and sunflowers) and if I have energy at the end I will through in a few recipes stolen off my girlfriends mum. GROWING RHUBARB - THE BASICS: Rhubarb sends up it's new leaves in spring and dies back in autumn (fall for any Americans reading). The reddish green leafstalks are the edible part; never eat the leaves, which are very poisonous. Divide rhubarb (to grow more of it) in late winter or early spring, setting the individual new plants them three to four feet apart to give them space to grow. Let the rhubarb grow for two full seasons before eating for the best tasting rhubarb. PLANTING RHUBARB - LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION .... Rhubarb grows best with at least six hours of full sun each day. Avoid both shady spots in your garden and plant the rhubarb by itself so it doesn't have to compete with other plants, also avoid shady spots such as trees and large bushes for the above two reasons. It's also important to choose a spot protected from cold winds in spring and hot, dry winds in summer, in other words any extreme conditions ! Try near a fence, but not too near. Low-lying areas of your garden will of course catch the frost so avoid them as well. Rhubarb can be grown more efficiently in wide beds. To do this, you prepare a bed about three feet wide, then sprinkle (a very technical term) the seeds over it rather than planting them in rows. This gives everything plenty of space to grow,
                and if planting baby rhubarb plants, plant them fairly randomly, they arn't pretty plants and you are going to eat them don't forget. GROW IT BIG: Look after your rhubarb, keep it well watered and remove any weeds growing around it, and keep it nicly fertilised. As long as you give your rhubarb care and attention rhubarb has no specific needs aprt from rhubarb being a heavy feeder so prepare the bed with at least two inches of compost and work it well into the soil in the bed. Rhubarb is easily looked after, even if just at weekends. DIG IT UP: To get that rhubarb out of the grouns, grab a stalk at the base and pull it down and away from the plant with a sharp pull. Be careful not to strip the plant of too many stalks as this will mean that you won't get your rhubarb returning next year - always leave a few stalks remaining so it grows back. At least one third of the stalks should be left on the plant at a rough estimate. If in the new year new stalks grow back thin (less than a half inch), don't panic, just leave this plant alone for a year and do not pick any because the thin stalks are an indication that plant needs time to "rest" after you whacked to much rhubarb off it last year. DURING THE WINTER: In reference to above, don't whack oof the dead leaves during the winter of the rhubaab won't come back - just think of it like a daffodil, the way it needs this years leaves to grow back. TUCK IN ! Anyway that wasn't as painful as I thought so I am going to chuck a few select recipes in and then take a break for some rhubarb jam on toast ... yummy ... Well in that case I should start with jam .... VERY, VERY EASY RHUBARB JAM: Ingredients: Five cups diced rhubarb One small can crushed pineapple (drain it first!) Two cups of (jam) sugar (jam sugar is nicer I find) Packet of jelly (straw
                berry or raspberry, rhubarb if you can get it) Cookin' it: Mix all the ingredients and let stand for tow hours, then boil it all for just over ten minutes. Remove all this from the heat add the packet jelly, stir well so that it is all mised together and pot it into an empty jam jar or an empty lunch box. This will keep well in the fridge and you can freeze it. Sorry if you can't follow any of that, I am trying to remember everything and type it before I forget !? VERY, VERY (AGAIN!) RHUBARB TART: Ingredients: Crust: One mug of all purpose flour Quarter teaspoon of salt One stick chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces Quarter cup sugar Two large egg yolks Two tablespoons (or more if needed) iced water Three tablespoons apricot jam Filling: Onw cup sugar Third mug cup water Some lemon zest (add to taste) One cinnamon stick (brake in half) Two pounds fresh rhubarb diced to the size you want I hope thats everything, if you see anything in the instructions not in my list, run to nearest cupboard and grab ! Cookin' it: Crust: Mix you flour and salt in a food processor or by hand until well mixed. Add your butter and mix in well on a slow speed, until your mixture resembles coarse meal (think breakfast museli). Add the sugar and egg yolks and mix, or give a very quick blitz in the processor. Add those two tablespoons of water and blitz again just until moist clumps form. If your dough is too dry, add more water slowly to moisten. Gather your dough into a big ball and flatten inta a disc. Wrap it in clingfilm and refrigerate until the dough is firm enough to roll, hopefully around thirty minutes in the fridge. Alternativly buy it down in your local Tesco. Preheat your oven to 350oF. Roll out that chilled dough disk on a floured surface (your chooping board). Transfer to your (well gr
                eased) pie dish (removable bottom ones are good for this). Trim you crust to overhang to around a quarter inch. Fold you overhang in, creating double-thick sides. Whack in the freezer for fifteen minutes. After this line the crust with foil, then fill with dried beans or those little ceramic posh things. Bake until sides are set, which should take around twenty minutes (less if you have a fan oven). Remove the foil and beans/posh thingys, and continue to bake until the crust is golden brown, piercing any bubbles gently with a fork for a further fifteen minutes. Brush your crust with jam and bake until the jam is set hard, which should take about five minutes more. Transfer the dish to window ledge and leave to cool. Not finished yet ! Filling: Combine you sugar and water in heavy large pan over low heat, and stir until sugar all dissolves. Add that lemon zest and cinnamon, increasing your heat to bring to the boil. Then add the rhubarb and continue to boil for five minutes before reducing the heat to medium/low. Cover the pan and simmer until rhubarb is just beginning to soften, which should take about five minutes. Remove pan from heat and leave to stand (covered to keep the heat in) until the rhubarb is tender, again about fifteen minutes. Eventually uncover and cool completely. Using a slotted spoon or a fish slice if you are feeling lucky, remove the rhubarb the juice and arrange in circles in your crust. Take this liquid and reduce it to a syrup, which you then cool and spoon over your rhubarb. Sprinkle with iceing sugar. Enjoy. Ok, only one more because my fingers are getting sore and work is nearly over. CURRIED LENTILS WITH POTATO AND RHUBARB I only ever tried this because I love curry. Ingredients: One cup of dried orange lentils One very large sweet potato, peeled and sliced One tablespoon of (olive) oil One cup of rhubarb, mediumly diced
                One tablespoon curry powder (to taste) One teaspoon of ginger root, grated One teaspoon of hot red chili powder Salt and pepper (to taste) A quarter cup of shredded coconut Cookin' it: Cover your lentils with water in a large pot, bring to the boil for a few minutes, then reduce the heat and add the raw sweet potato slices (chips if ya cookin' it for ya mates). LKet this simmer until soft (around an hour). Remove from the heat, drain carefully, and leave to cool. Preheat your oven to four hundred degrees. Meanwhile heat some oil in a skillet, and once hot, add that rhubarb. Slighty reduce heat and cook until the rhubarb tender. Stir in salt and pepper and even a little sugar if the rhubaab is particulary tart. Mix with the drained, cooked lentils and potatoes (you can mash these together or leave them the way they are). Pop into a pyrex dish and bake at four hundred degrees until piping hot, this should take around twenty minutes. Garnish with grated coconut and serve with chutney, rice and naan bread. You can also throw some chicken in with this if you like your meat. Anyway I totally give up now and have run out of time, but hope this helps a freshed you ideas a little at least ! And now finally on a more morbid note: A word of warning: Rhubarb leaf ingestion: The body: One will experience weakness, burning of your mouth, eventually death from cardiovascular collapse (a heart attack). The respiratory system: Difficulty breathing through your nose and mouth, burning in your throat. The gastrointestinal system: Experience of abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. The nervous system: Convulsions, leading to a comatose state and eventual cardiovascular collapse. Enjoy !

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