When is a vegetable not a vegetable? When it’s rhubarb, of course!  The pink sticks of spring are part of the Polygonaceae family, which include flowering plants and some food based plants. Rhubarb is a perennial plant, which means it appears every year – anyone who has ever had a garden with a rhubarb plant in it will know how difficult it is to get rid of, if you wish to get rid of it, that is! There will always be a little rhizome left in the ground that will spring to life in spring! Most cooks appreciate rhubarb in the garden.  It forms the basis of lots of seasonal  desserts  this time of year.  It’s a sour plant that needs sugar, so gentle poaching in enough water to cover and a few generous spoons of sugar make this palatable.  As it doesn’t take that long to cook, some timesaving cooks chop it into small chunks and use it raw in pies and crumbles, where it will cook in the oven. But it works best when poached slightly beforehand.  It’s also good for breakfast compote, to serve with natural yogurt or over porridge. In a savoury role, a rhubarb puree works with oily fish like herring, mackerel  and sardines. And with duck or free range pork which have a good proportion of fat.  A rhubarb sauce (like apple sauce) makes a good foil for the richness.  Think pink in the coming weeks and make the most of rhubarb while the season lasts!  To get you started, here's a gorgeous recipe from our listings,  for Mummy's Rhubarb Pie  – from the Queen of cooking herself – Darina Allen