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  • Writer's pictureSweet Pea Specialists

Rhubarb - Rheum rhabarbarum

No kitchen garden is complete without this perennial vegetable which has tart-flavoured ruby stems used to make pies, crumbles, jams, and sauces.

Growing rhubarb is very easy to grow. Rhubarb grows well in soil amended with plenty of well-rotted manure or compost that is well drained. The plant requires full sun. Since this is a large perennial give it plenty of room in the garden. It is a stunning plant, so it makes a great feature. I even leave mine to flower. Rhubarb does best where the average temperature falls below 4C in the winter.

The leaves of the rhubarb plant are toxic (high in oxalic acid) so ensure you do not eat them nor give them to your chickens. However, the leaves do have a purpose. I use these massive leaves as a "green" weed mat and they can be added to the compost bin.

These plants will not be able to be harvested for at least three years. Only harvest a couple of stems in the first harvest. After that you can harvest about two thirds at one time. I only harvest a few stems at a time, clean and freeze raw to use when I need to. If possible do not use a knife to harvest, grab the base of the stalk and pull it away from the plant with a gentle twist. Stop harvesting stalks from around mid summer. You need to give the plant enough time and resources for its winter dormancy.

Rhubarb and Mixed Berry Upside-Down Cake


  • 20g butter, softened

  • 1/4 cup (55g) caster sugar

  • 3 bunches rhubarb, ends trimmed

  • 150g butter, extra, softened

  • 1 cup (220g) caster sugar, extra

  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste

  • 3 Eggs

  • 1 1/4 cups (185g) self-raising flour

  • 1/2 cup (75g) plain flour

  • 1 cup (120g) almond meal

  • 1/2 cup (140g) Greek-style yoghurt

  • 1 1/2 cups (225g) mixed berries


  • Preheat oven to 160C. Grease a 20cm (base measurement) square cake pan and line the base and sides with 2 layers of baking paper. Spoon dollops of butter evenly over base of the lined pan. Sprinkle with 2 tbs of sugar. Arrange rhubarb in a diamond pattern over the sugar, trimming to fit and reserving excess. Sprinkle with remaining sugar. Finely chop the reserved rhubarb.

  • Use an electric mixer to beat the extra butter, extra sugar and vanilla in a large bowl until pale and creamy. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the combined flour, almond meal and yoghurt, in alternating batches. Stir in the berries and chopped rhubarb. Spoon over the rhubarb in the pan. Smooth the surface.

  • Bake for 1 hour or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Set aside in the pan for 10 mins before turning onto a plate. Cut into slices. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Reference: Coles Magazine

10cm pot

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