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.
Note: The leaves and roots of rhubarb should not be eaten. They contain excessive levels of oxalic acid, which can be toxic.
HistoryThe word "rhubarb" comes from the Latin reubarbarum, or "root of the barbarians." The term was used to describe anything that was foreign or unfamiliar.
VarietiesThere 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.
Buying TipsHot-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.
Storage TipsHighly 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 months.
Usage Tips• 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, stewed or baked.
• Cook rhubarb in orange juice to add flavor and reduce acidity.
• Sweeten rhubarb with sugar, honey, syrup or preserves.
• Make a homemade rhubarb sauce or jam.
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