Intensely tart rhubarb is usually sweetened and cooked with
other fruits (such as apples and strawberries) to create delicious jams,
cakes, sauces and of course, rhubarb pie.
This member of the buckwheat family has thick, celery
-like stalks that
are greenish-pink to deep red in color. Botanically a vegetable,
rhubarb is usually sweetened and cooked in the manner of a fruit
. It has
an intensely tart flavor that makes for great sauces, jellies, muffins
. Rhubarb is such a popular ingredient for pie filling
some regions it is simply known as pieplant
The leaves and roots
of rhubarb should not be eaten. They contain excessive levels of oxalic acid, which can be
The word "rhubarb" comes from the Latin reubarbarum
, or "root of the barbarians." The term was used to describe anything that was foreign or unfamiliar.
There are two types of rhubarb on the market. Hot-house rhubarb
has pink to light red stalks, yellow-green leaves and a milder taste. Field-grown rhubarb
has deep red stalks, bright green leaves and a more intense flavor.
Hot-house is available in many regions year-round, while field-grown is
usually found from late winter to early summer (peak season is from
April to May). When buying, select brightly colored, crisp stalks. The
leaves should look fresh and blemish-free.
Rhubarb is also available canned or frozen.
Highly perishable, whole stalks of fresh rhubarb should be tightly
wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerated. Use within three days, or cut
in chunks, place in a plastic freezer bag and freeze for up to nine
• Wash, trim ends and remove leaves right before using. Be sure to
discard the roots and leaves—these contain toxic levels of oxalic acid.
• Field-grown rhubarb has a stringy, fibrous skin that must also be
removed. Make a cut under the skin at one end, then pull the skin down
the length of the stalk. Repeat until all is removed.
• Eat rhubarb raw with a little sprinkle of sugar on top.
• Rhubarb is more often cooked. It can be simmered
• Cook rhubarb in orange juice
to add flavor and reduce acidity.
• Sweeten rhubarb with sugar
, syrup or preserves.
• Make a homemade rhubarb sauce
Try one of our favorite rhubarb recipes:
Hazel Gentry's A to Z Bread
apples, blackberries, blueberries, chicken, cinnamon, ginger, honey, nutmeg, oranges, pork, raspberries, strawb