WHAT IS RHUBARB?
While rhubarb might look like large, red stalks of celery have been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years. A vegetable that’s often paired with strawberry (since both are among the first to be available) and sugar in pies due to its tart taste. However it’s also excellent for picking or for use in savory dishes. In color they can vary from a deep red to a light green (which does not indicate ripeness). At one time in the 14th century this ingredient was more expensive then saffron. This plant is also a popular ornamental choice for home gardens.
WHY IS RHUBARB GOOD FOR YOU?
To be clear it’s the stalks that contain health benefits while the leaves contain several poisonous substances. The stalk is rich in vitamin K, vitamin C and fiber. While some vegetables like asparagus are often peeled due to their astringic skin (like carrots), with rhubarb the skin holds a majority of this vegetable’s color and flavor.
WHEN IS RHUBARB IN SEASON?
Thanks to greenhouses and overseas production south of the equator this vegetable is available throughout the year. However when harvested past mid-summer the stalks have a less appealing, more woody flavor. They thrive best in cool locations with full sun and good soil drainage.
HOW SHOULD RHUBARB BE STORED?
Refrigerate in a bag with a damp paper towel unwashed or cleaned up for several weeks. Or you can freeze it for several months.
DOES RHUBARB’S COLOR SHOW HOW SWEET IT IS?
Yes! The redder the stalk the more ripe or sweeter the vegetable is for that specific variety. However green rhubarb is just a different variety then red, one does not turn into the other. However when purchasing rhubarb, the color of a specific variety doesn’t show ripeness. Instead go by texture and make sure that the leaves haven’t started to wilt.