Rhubarb

Rubarb

Rhubarb is there around our national holiday ‘The kings day’, then  the season of  the ‘spring buds’ Or (straight and honest) ‘gold sticks‘ starts.

Read in the section Rhubarb everything about the progation and events around rhubarb. For our recipies with rhubarb you can visit our recipe page.

 

Advantages of the rhubarb from Den Delft”:

  • The best taste in the region
  • Pure natural product
  • Biologically grown
  • Seasonal product
  • locally and fresh

Rhubarb of Den Delft

The fresh spring buds are ready to be harvest around our national holiday “The kings day”. Either you love it or you are in the process of loving it. Because our rhubarb is truly the most delicious

The spring buds of Den Delft is fresh, biological and available from our national holiday “The kings day” during about 6 weeks. It is a seasonal product, locally and biologically grown. The most delicious rhubarb from the region Delft and Midden Delfland. For restaurants and private parties.

Cooking tips

  • Boil spring buds always in a steel or enamel pan. Aluminium tools (pots, knives or seven) are inadequate as the acids from the rhubarb with aluminum come into contact, the court may get an unpleasant taste
  • If you meekookt a few burrs, you get a nice colour.
  • Calorie Diet? Replace sugar with an artificial sweetener!
  • If you only add the sugar after cooking, then the cooking time shorter and need less Sugar.
  • Fresh rhubarb can buy the best in May. If you freeze a portion you can enjoy it year round.
  • The leaves of rhubarb is NOT suitable for consumption. (Also not for pets.)
Spring buds on open field

Around February (weather permitting) the ‘noses’ of a clump of spring buds start quietly sprouting with. With the spring sun and occasional rain shower the crop is  growing as as cabbages. The energy for this growth spurt the plant takes out of reserve substances in its thickened roots. By the end of April, the plants have formed a considerable leaf mass and the harvesting rhubarb stems can start.
The harvest period lasts until the longest day (21 June), or “while supplies last”.

Flower stems on rhubarb plants are broken off at an early stage. Namely, because the growth and development of flowers and seeds takes a lot of solar energy, which is at the expense of production and the flavor of rhubarb steal.

Spring buds stems growing in July or later, remain on the plant and can not be harvested. That may seem like sin, but it is not. They are meant to give the plant an opportunity to rebuild reserves for the next year. The large leaves absorb a lot of sunlight and store this energy out into the leaf blade and petiole. In the autumn, when the plant above ground dies, the plant pulls the energy from the leaves, and stores them in the form of starch in the roots. The Rhubarb then, after hibernation, has enough energy and food ready to rap again to walk out in the spring.

This cycle repeats itself every year.

The harvest

The harvesting of spring buds is done early in the morning, as the dew still sits on the leaf. The rhubarb stems are hand-drawn “with a slight twist and tug ‘of the plant. Some caution should be exercised not to break the stem. The leaf disc is directly from the stalk cut, otherwise the stem is quickly limp by the large evaporating surface of the leaf blade. Finally, membranes on the basis of the steal removed.

Note: Cut rhubarb in your own garden never with a knife: the remaining section of stem on the plant can rot, which can in the worst case perish the whole plant.

Fresh rhubarb stems are firm and slightly shiny.

I used to think rhubarb unappetizing. What I miss if I do not eat rhubarb?

Many people who ate spring buds in their youth had one bad experience with it and never ate rhubarb again. In contrast a group of foodies is very enthusiastic about rhubarb. These are ‘regulars’ who have spring buds on a weekly or even daily bases.

The difference between a ‘regular’ and the ‘not-knowing’ is that the former knows what he is buying is good rhubarb, knows how (not) to prepare it and once tried a good recipe. It is also possible that your taste buds still needed to develop and therefore tastes better in later life.

In short, every reason to try even rhubarb. (Little effort!)

What makes it so special?

Some interesting facts and anecdotes

  • Spring buds have their own authentic flavor and can be combined with various other types of fresh fruit.
  • Spring buds  are one of the first crops can be harvested in the spring of open ground.
  • Spring buds are a vegetable formal (you eat the stem and not the fruit) but is also used in the kitchen as a fruit.
  • Rhubarb contains naturally low in calories. In England the “rhubarb diet” a proven method to lose weight.
  • A clump of rhubarb can form an underground root system of more than 10 kg.
  • In Asia, people used the spring buds for over 5000 years, among other things because of its healing powers. In Western Europe, rhubarb got only public prominence in the 19th century, by processing in cakes and chutneys.
  • In the past, people used rhubarb leaf or as a lunchbox: the large blade prevents dehydration of the sandwiches and kept them fresh.
  • Rhubarb Leaf can be used as slug catcher: Put the leave one night in your garden and then throw it in the compost bin.
Why is it becoming a trend?
Cooking with rhubarb ‘hot’! The profile of the ‘gold sticks’ suit various emerging trends and developments. A top 10:
  • Forgotten vegetables and nostalgia
    Spring buds are a typical Dutch natural product that almost everyone knows, but only eaten by few (yet). A typical forgotten vegetable that has been rediscovered and appreciated.
  • Seasonal products
  • Each season has its own products. If you “eat according to the seasons’ you keep more variety in your food.
  • Fresh Vegetables 
    Truly fresh is the best and contains the most vitamines.
  • Sustainable, biological growth
    Spring buds are grow excellent in the Dutch climate. The ‘gold stick doesn’t know any deseases or plagues and is therefore excellent for biological cultivation. This is better for the environment.
  • Locally grown produce
    Fresh and sustainable from the region. The stems are firm and slightly shiny. Prepackaged it is limp and this cannot be improved.
  • Taste
    it has it’s own authencic flavour and is a very good combination with other (sweet) fruits. People are again looking to appreciate new taste experiences and learn to eat rhubarb again.
  • Easy to prepare 
    The easiest recipe is compote, it is ready in 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Extremely versatile
    There are few products as versatile as spring buds. You can use it as fruit and as vegetable, for making compote, rhubarb cake, rubarb ice, desserts, drinks, chutney etc. With a little bit creativity you can sprinkle the long, thin flakes from the red peal with sugar and transform them into a birdsnest. Your dish suddenly gets an exclusive look.
  • Health
    It is naturally low in calories and fits into a healthy diet. In Engeland zijn “rhubarbdiets” are very well known. With rhubarb you can also make various gluten-free and vegetarian recipes.
    It is rich in vitamines B, C and minerals . It is also good for heart and blood vessels.  It contains a relatively high malic acid, to which a blood-cleansing effect is ascribed. Rhubarb is also used in traditional Chinese medicine.
  • Cooking & Gardening
    Originating from the ‘back to nature’ feel there is a growing interest in cooking and gardening. The interest in spring buds is piggybacking with this development.
Are there differences in taste?
As is true for people: one rhubarb is not the other. Although all the rhubarb might look to a layman the same, there are definitively differences. Factors that affect the taste are:
  • The race
    One variety tastes better than the other. Varieties with full green stems are  twice as productive but more acidic than the red varieties. Because of the flavour and because of a lower production, the red stems are a little bit more expensive than the green ones.
  • The cultivation method 
    Harvested from  open ground it  tastes differently than when it is forced.
    A plant can devote his energy once. If you harvest less stems it benefits the flavour.
  • Harvest time 
    It is harvested in april /may mei is the best. After the longest day (21 June) increases the content of oxalic acid in the stems and they become less tasty. (So buy the it in season and  freeze it!)
  • Preservation
    If you keep fresh produce longer it influences the taste and the nutrients. Fresh is always he tastiest and healthiest. Fresh spring buds you can recognise from the sturdy stems and healthy looking leaves.
Why does it taste so sour?

Few natural sugars

It will probably surprise you, but the acidity (pH) of spring buds is equal to that of spinach. That it tastes much more acidic than spinach because rhubarb naturally contains less sugar. Therefore, you need to add sugar (or sugar substitute) when preparing it.

Seasonal effect

Old stems and stems harvested in the (following) summer contain more acid than rhubarb harvested in May (the best harvest period).  To spring buds harvested later in the year, you must therefore add more sugar.

Should I put lime in with it during preparation?
It is not neccessary , but it is allowed.

With a small pinch of lime (chalk school) to neutralize the acid (oxalic acid) into the it and you need to add less sugar. Be aware that it is the oxalic acid that gives it its authentic flavor. If you add too much lime it is a detriment of the taste! Add little by little and taste in between.

Personally I don’t add lime to the it.  Spring buds from Den Delft tastes milder than the ones from the store.

Where can I buy lime for rhubarb?
You can buy lime for spring buds from a variety of food stores, ecological shops and health food stores. But often,  when you ask for it, the seller of the ‘gold sticks’ can also supply you with lime.
I've heard it is unhealthy?

This is a myth which got stubbornly established from mouth to mouth.

The prejuidice is based on the thought that oxalic acid in spring buds would increase osteoporosis. This idea is more in people’s minds than it is scientifically substantiated. The effect of it on osteoporosis is grossly exaggerated in the vernacular. Moreover, nobody eats, in practice, only spring buds.
Optionally you can add a pinch of lime to neutralize the oxalic acid. Or combine it with yoghurt or another dairy product, in order to get inside extra lime.

Although the alleged negative effects of rhubarb are well known, almost no one knows the positive effects on health. Oriental medicine ascribes to rhubarb beneficial health effects. It appears to be beneficial for heart and blood vessels. It is relatively rich in malic acid, to which a blood cleansing effect is ascribed.

An old tiles wisdom remains:

Eat varied and in moderation
How do I prevent long strings in the compote?
Cut the stems into shorter pieces. By hand it is a piece of cake, but you can also use a food processor.
Should I peel it?
Peeling the stems is not really necessary; A rinse is sufficient.

If you cook the it with the peal, you get a nice, light  raspberry red color. Moreover, you get less of it if you throw the peels away, so discarding the peel is a double waste of a beautiful and delicous product.

Spring buds that are harvested in the second half of the year, have a much more fibrous outer peel. Some people rather peel it then with a vegetable peeler.

Why do you sell it only a few months a year?
Rhubarb is an excellent seasonal product, like tulips. This is connected with the growth cycle of rhubarb:
  • During summer the plant stores energy and nutrients its fleshy roots (= storage organs).
  • In the early spring the plant uses reserve substances from the roots to make stem.

For sustainable farming it is wise to stop harvesting timely of interest. A rule of thumb is that the plant can be harvested till the longest day (June 21), and that the plant needs the second half of the year to build nutrients back to run out early next spring.

If you harvest too long it becomes exploitation and this is disastrous for the plant. From July on the stems contain even more acid and are thougher and therefore less suitable for consumption.

 

The best ‘gold sticks’ you buy at Den Delft in May and June.

Can I freeze it?

You can freeze it just fine.

You can cut the stems into pieces and freeze them raw, or for example cook compote and then freeze it.

Rhubarb freezing has a few advantages:

  1. Preparing a larger amount of spring buds is more efficient and costs relatively less time
  2.  You can then combine it, for example with strawberries, raspberries or blueberries, which are available later in the year.

 

BBC Good Food:Rhubarb
Jamie Oliver How to Grow Rhubarb
Martha Steward: Rubarb Recipes

They exist: Events where there is  a leading role for the ‘gold sticks’.  Filled with activities: tasting of pies, jams, chutney’s. cakes etc. Cooking demonstrations, games, farmers market, live entertainment, music and performances; In short: fun for young and old. see the information below about the primary rhubarb festivals.

Rhubarb Festival Wakefield
Two day event in January. Held in the heart of the socalled Rhubarb Triangle. In 2012 the festival got nearly 100.000 visitors.
Rhubarb Festival Wakefield
Rhubarb Festival Aledo
Aledo, Illinois, United States
Two day event in May. Held since 1991. Each year it has more 3.000 homemade pies for sale.
Rhubarb Festival Aledo
Rhubarb Festival Kitchen Kettle Village
Intercourse, Pennsylvania, United States.  Two day event in May. Since 1983.
Rhubarb Festival Kitchen Kettle Village
Rhubarb Festival Summer Downtown Association
Rhubarb Days SummerDowntown AssociationSummer, Washington, United States
Two day event in July.

Rhubarb Days Summer Downtown Association

You can find recipes on our recipe page 

Den Delft © 2012

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