Red, red wine

Ravishing red rhubarb

Someone should invent an air freshener that smells like rhubarb. Our house smells deliciously fruity tonight, as I’ve got big buckets of rhubarb steeping in boiling water on the kitchen floor. I’ve just started my first batch of rhubarb wine (hic!) and fizzy but alcohol-free rhubarb champagne. I bought four bunches of red-stemmed rhubarb from Stella Christoffersen of Running Brook Seeds at the Clevedon Farmers’ Market this morning, which I’ve supplemented with a couple of kilograms of my own fat greenish-red rhubarb. (The really red stuff is hard to come by unless you know a friend with an old clump, as most of the plants sold in garden centres these days, despite being labelled as ‘Victoria’, tend to ripen to pale red at best).

I’ve got a big bed of rhubarb by our front door that’s looking huge and healthy. (I wrote about why it’s looking so good in my Good Life column in NZ Gardener a couple of months back. All I’ll say is that my formerly miserable-looking patch of rhubarb had a sudden revival in fortunes following a stag do involving beer, boys and their bladders. Click here to read more.)