From a few email questions lately, I realize many of you have questions about this delicious veggie.
Rhubarb is high in vitamin C, fiber and calcium. It's an excellent spring veggie to use in desserts. Yep - you can get your veggies from dessert :)
First things first -- the leaves of the rhubarb have high levels of oxalic acid, a plant secondary compound that is toxic to humans. Thus - DO NOT EAT THE LEAVES.
Next, look for stalks that are firm and red in color. Just as you would snap celery off of the bunch of celery, snap the rhubarb stalk off of the plant. You can do this by grabbing the stalk right as it comes out of the ground and use a slight twist/turn/pull method to remove the stalk.
Sometimes I cut off the stalk, but it is better for the plant to snap off the whole petiole (the botanist term for stalk).
Finally, Cut off the leaves and discard.
Wash the stalks well and prepare for use.
Rhubarb is one of the first veggies available in the spring and should be harvested in May and early June. As the summer continues, the stalks tend to get more hollow and dry.
You can harvest petioles daily, but don't take more than 1/3 of the petioles from any given plant in one harvest.
Once you have the rhubarb harvested you can slice the rhubarb and freeze it for later use. You can blanch the veggie, or, just dry freeze it by placing the sliced rhubarb in an airtight container.
Rhubarb is likely most famous for strawberry rhubarb pie, but rhubarb also makes a stunning rhubarb wine.
Here are a list of our favorite rhubarb recipes:
Strawberry Rhubarb Jam
Strawberry Rhubarb Muffins
Blueberry Rhubarb Muffins