Picking Champagne Rhubarb

Instagram and Twitter has been awash this bank holiday weekend with photos of people picking rhubarb and making all kinds of lovely sweet treats with it.  Picking rhubarb gives you a real sense that spring has settled in nicely and summer is truly on the way.  I tried earlier this to force my rhubarb in a strange looking frame, which got blown away by the wind the rain – so in the end, I just left it to do what it was supposed to do on its own.  I can’t say that this has done any harm to my crop as I’ve got a glutton of rhubarb to harvest.

It’s not advised that you cut rhubarb stems, the reason being is that once cut, the base of the stem will die and rot into the plant, which is as good as it sounds.   When harvesting rhubarb you want to be sure to pull stems out of the crown of the plant.

Reach as far down along the stem, into the root, as possible and pull a stalk in the same direction in which it’s growing.  You’ll know when you’ve done it right because of the sound – you’ll hear a nice, light, suctioned crunch – if you hear a snap, you may have broken it off at the root (this isn’t the end of the world, and you may accidently do this as I have done on occasion, so try not to lose too much sleep over this!)

You should end up with a nice clean stalk like the one below.

 

I’ve seen people cut rhubarb at differing lengths all over the internet, and I’m sure each variety and each grower has their own personal preference, but personally – I like to cut off the stalk about 2 or 3 inches from the leaf, or when the colour starts to change along the stem.

Can’t wait to make some jam with this and show you the recipe!