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18 July 2015

Pretty pink rhubarb is one of my favourite things to cook with. Un-forced rhubarb is a little all or nothing seasonally. My Mum's allotment is, almost overnight, swamped with giant elephant leafed rhubarb, and it's a race to harvest it all before it gets tough and woody.

That's why the irony wasn't lost on me as I found myself bulk buying reduced rhubarb in Sainsbury's last week. It seemed a little alien to buy the stuff, but I can never resist ripe and reduced fruit. There are so many things you can do with a glut of ripe fruit - jams, cordials and curds all call for high quantities of fruit, and are the perfect way to preserve all the taste and beauty of seasonal produce.

Rhubarb usually ends up in my rhubarb vanilla jam, but this bundle was so fresh and pink that it seemed a shame not to try something new. Rhubarb sorbet is crazy easy to make and, while it will make your life easier, you don't need an ice cream churner to make this work.

The recipe leaves you with a delicious rhubarb purée that doesn't make it into the sorbet. You'd be mad to throw this away - cover with crumble, mix into custard tarts, or snaffle as a delicious cook's treat while your sorbet is freezing. 

What are your favourite rhubarb recipes? 
400g rhubarb
1 lemon 
150g caster sugar
150ml water

Begin by placing an ice cream container in the freezer. I use a loaf tin.

Chop up your rhubarb, and add to a large saucepan with the sugar, water and juice of the lemon. Cook on a medium heat for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the rhubarb has tenderised and completed broken down. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool for 10 minutes.

Place a sieve over a bowl, and carefully pour the rhubarb mixture into the sieve. Push the mixture through the sieve firmly, continuing until you are left with just a thick mixture in the sieve. Discard this, but keep it for a crumble, tart, or to eat with greek yoghurt.

Stir the strained mixture so that the consistency is even.. If you are using an ice cream maker, churn it following the machines instructions, then transfer to the freezer. If you don't have a churner, transfer the mixture to your frozen dish. Leave it to freeze for a couple of hours, then remove from the freezer and blend using a blender or hand blender. Return to the freezer, and repeat this process two or three times. 

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