Rhubarb. I really didn’t know if I should pick it. Nothing else in my April garden looked as ready.
Yet there she was, boasting her verdancy amid a swirling carpet of troublesome buttercup and clumps of new grass. Rhubarb shouted out with big fat leaves the size of platters.
She had erupted from the cold wet March soil as blood red crowns, quickly morphing into crinkly, neon-green bundles. I stopped trolling rhubarb for a couple of weeks and was shocked to find her wings unfurled. Her massive (and toxic) wavy green leaves were hiding edible stalks beneath.
She identifies as a fruit but is a vegetable, our lady rhubarb.
I took a deep breath and harvested five stalks today, yanking each one from the base, a thin white filament sliced from the root ball clinging to the bottom of every stalk.
In the kitchen, I washed and trimmed my April bounty, covering the base of a wide pot with a half-inch dice. Splash went sweet apple juice over the red chunks, just to cover. I took a large spoon and scooped out an ample portion of fine, local honey from our friend and arborist Gordon MacKay.
Covered, the rhubarb gently simmered for no more than 10 minutes dissolving into a tangy compote ready for breakfast yogurt, dessert-time ice cream or simply solo and divine.