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Death And Taxes… And Now Rhubarb

Voxy Newswire
Voxy Newswire
Death And Taxes… And Now Rhubarb

Benjamin Franklin once famously said “in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes."

But now you can add rhubarb to the list! Plant rhubarb this spring and every year, just like your tax bill, it will turn up again. At least with rhubarb it’s more of a refund than a remittance.

Rhubarb is a perennial plant which means it is dormant in winter but rejuvenates each spring. It’s easy to grow and once planted will produce thick, luscious stems that are ripe for the picking and ready to turn into your favourite dessert – year after year!

So let’s get started. Grab some of Awapuni Nurseries’ Pop’n’Grow seedlings when you’re down at your local supermarket, Warehouse or Bunnings store. Don’t forget to check the vege section. Rhubarb is in fact a vegetable that is usually prepared and eaten like a fruit – food for thought.

The perfect spot to plant rhubarb is in a moist, composted soil, in a sunny and well-drained area. Composting the soil before planting will give your rhubarb the kick start it needs to produce luscious rugby-ball sized leaves and strong, juicy stems.

Once you’ve prepared the soil, dig a hole (approximately 3cms deep), place your seedling inside and cover the roots with soil. Rhubarb is a great space filler and looks and grows well on the corner of vege gardens with rich soil.

If you don’t have a garden – no worries! Rhubarb can be grown successfully in a pot. And if it’s grown on a deck, sheltered from frosts, it will grow all year round. Just plant it the same way you would in a garden.

Rhubarb is ready to eat when the leaves are large and the stems are long and thick. In most New Zealand regions, you can harvest rhubarb right through to June!

For ever-lasting rhubarb, you should cut, divide and re-plant the plant into sections every three to four years and when it dies down in winter.

You don’t have to dig up the whole plant. Just uncover the soil around the rhubarb plant, divide it by cutting off the sides and re-plant the cuttings. Doing so will ensure brighter leaves, bigger stems and better rhubarb.

After harvesting, you may find you have more rhubarb than you know what to do with. Well… never fear – rhubarb crumble is here! This simple and easy to make dish will have your family begging for more, and because rhubarb is the vege that keeps on giving, they’ll never be without.

First, preheat the oven to 180°C. Trim and slice 500g of rhubarb into 3-4cm pieces. Place the rhubarb in an ovenproof dish and sprinkle over 50ml of water and 100g of white sugar (or brown depending on your taste).

Sift 200g of plain flour into a bowl and add 100g of cubed butter. Use your hands to rub together the two ingredients until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. If touching food is not your thing, you can pulse the mixture in a food processor. Add 125g of brown or raw sugar and stir.

Lightly spread the crumbly goodness over the rhubarb and bake for 40 minutes. Place a knife in the middle of the pie after 40 minutes, if the rhubarb is soft and the top is golden – it’s ready to eat. Serve with ice cream and enjoy!

Tod Palenski 

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