As mentioned in my last post, we recently endured a spate of heavy frosts. While the visual effects were stunning, the aftermath in the gardens has been quite destructive! Citrus, lemons, limes, mandarins, etc literally froze on the tree, and because there was no reprieve from the frosts – they just kept coming, night after night after night, the fruit did not recover and turned to mush. Initially the fruit looked perfectly normal, but when you touched it, it was soft and squishy, and finally it just fell from the trees. That is not all, people in the district fear that their precious trees may not recover from the trauma, and it is the centre of many conversations within the community. That is just the citrus trees… There has been so much more destruction in the garden, and many have lost so, so many of their treasured plants and trees. Fortunately we were very lucky and my wonderful husband’s diligence saved so much.
That being said, I just thought I would show you what happened to our rhubarb… The stalks froze, and then they split when thawing!
My sister, Sonya, made the comment that all I could do with it now, would be to knit it!!! But remembering how my Gran used to cover her precious tomato plants when they were newly planted to save them from the spring frosts, we went in search of large pots to cover the plants each night – it worked… The rhubarb has recovered and we have a lovely new flush coming along…
I have also spent a lot of time trying to learn all about growing rhubarb, and have added the information here.
In the mean time, my sister Janice sent me a recipe via text message that she had found in an English gardening magazine, she just took a shapshot of it and sent it through. I managed to scrounge enough rhubarb, and decided that I would add some beautiful golden delicious apples from the local farmer’s market, tweaked the recipe here and there, and this is what I ended up with – Rhubarb Sauce. I have served it alongside homemade pork, ginger and sage sausages, roast loin of pork and added it to the jus I was preparing to accompany a piece of beef scotch fillet – it is amazing!
So if you have a little rhubarb on hand, give it a try, it doesn’t take too long and will be a great addition to your pantry…
My sister, Jan, found a recipe for Rhubarb Sauce in an English gardening magazine and sent me a photo – I changed it somewhat and this is the end result. It is slightly tart and a little tangy, and pairs beautifully with pork and is a wonderful addition to a sauce for steak.
- 600 g Rhubarb (preferably red) washed, trimmed and cut into 2cm pieces
- 400 g Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored and chopped
- 600 g Purple onions, peeled and chopped
- 2.5 litres Cider vinegar, (approx)
- 300 g white sugar (appros)
- 1 tbsp finely grated fresh ginger
- 1 tbsp pickling spice
- 2 cloves
- 1 dried red chilli
- 2 cardamon pods
- a few chards of cinnamon bark
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp ground ginger
- 1/8 tsp ground allspice
- 1/8 tsp ground cloves
- 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
- Place the pickling spice, cloves, chilli, cardamon pods and cinnamon bark into a small piece of muslin and tie with a piece of cooking twine to form a small bag.
- Add the rhubarb, apples, ginger, onion and 250 ml of the cider vinegar, together with the spice bag to a large pan. Bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer and cook, covered, until the fruit is soft – approximately 20 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the heat and discard the spice bag. Allow to cool slightly before pureeing the mixture in a food processor until smooth.
- Measure the puree and add to a clean pan and for each 600g of puree add 100g of sugar and 300 ml of cider vinegar. Finally add the ground spices and salt and stir to combine.
- Bring the mixture to a boil and then cook over medium /low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick and of pouring consistency.
- Pour into warm sterilised bottles and seal and lable.
- You can purchase pickling spice from the spice section at the supermarket, or prepare your own.
Until next time…
Happy gardening & bon appétit!
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