How one can Purchase, Retailer, and Freeze Rhubarb – Leite’s Culinaria

Spring’s right here and meaning rhubarb. In the event you can’t get sufficient of its puckery sourness in desserts, sauces, and even cocktail recipes, you’ve discovered kindred souls. Right here’s every part it is advisable know to purchase, retailer, and freeze rhubarb to make sure you have some readily available all 12 months lengthy.

Stalks of rhubarb tied together with twine.
: dianazh

1. When is rhubarb season?

The season for field-grown rhubarb is February to June and it usually reaches peak abundance April by June. Hothouse rhubarb, in idea, is offered year-round, though at most supermarkets the one place you’ll discover rhubarb in October is the freezer case.

2. Rhubarb is a vegetable, not a fruit

The enduring ruby-stalked plant often called rhubarb (Rheum rhabarbarum) is definitely an easy-to-grow–are you prepared?–vegetable. Yep. In keeping with its botanical definition, rhubarb is a vegetable as a result of it consists of roots, stems, and leaves. It’s technically a member of the buckwheat household.

Nonetheless, The Nice Rhubarb Controversy legally overturned that in 1947 when a New York customs court docket deemed that since Individuals cooked rhubarb primarily as a fruit, it needs to be thought of a fruit. What actually drove the choice was cash. ( If rhubarb was thought of a vegetable, imports from Canada could be taxed at 50%, whereas solely 35% if it had been categorized as a fruit. Go determine.

A smiling child holding large stalks of rhubarb.
: Esbenklinker

3. Rhubarb leaves are poisonous

Yep. They might even be lethal. These spectacular, fan-shaped leaves comprise dangerously excessive ranges of oxalic acid, which might trigger irreversible kidney harm that might result in dying. Now, granted, an average-sized individual must eat about 10 kilos of the stuff in an effort to croak. Nonetheless, even a small quantity could make you sick. And don’t neglect the fur infants; the leaves are simply as poisonous to canine and cats. An essential notice: If you’re on the market, ensure that to not confuse rhubarb and pink Swiss chard as they’re considerably comparable in look.

Stalks of rhubarb with a black price sign.
: Cristina Murariu

4. How one can choose rhubarb

Rhubarb’s stalks fall into two distinct classes: these grown in hothouses and people grown within the area. Hothouse rhubarb has pale-pink to pale-red stalks and yellowish-green leaves. The stalks of field-grown rhubarb are normally ruby-red with inexperienced leaves. For probably the most half, hothouse rhubarb (which is what you discover at most supermarkets) has a milder, much less puckery taste.

And what of these occasional inexperienced stalks? Some cultivars of rhubarb are extra inexperienced than pink or pink. And, surprisingly, they’ll typically be sweeter than their blushing cousins. Regardless of the place you purchase rhubarb or what its shade, you need to make sure it’s tender however agency and crisp.

☞ TESTER TIP: If shade is essential within the recipe, akin to a jam or compote, use red-stemmed rhubarb. If that’s not potential, pairing rhubarb with pink fruit, akin to strawberries or raspberries, helps.

Stalks of rhubarb on a cutting board with ends trimmed and a knife beside them.
: NelliSyr

5. How one can retailer rhubarb

If the rhubarb you purchase comes with leaves, reduce them off and toss them out. (See #2 for the rationale. Keep in mind, the leaves are protected to toss within the compost.) To retailer rhubarb stalks, wrap them properly in plastic wrap or, higher but, stash them in reusable storage baggage and refrigerate them for as much as 3 weeks.

Pieces of rhubarb being frozen.
: qwartm

6. How one can freeze rhubarb

Craving the sweet-tart taste of rhubarb all summer season lengthy? We’ve acquired you lined. Freezing rhubarb is easy.

  1. First, fastidiously wash and dry the stalks.
  2. Reduce the stalks into 1-inch items.
  3. Scatter them on parchment-lined baking sheets and freeze them. (This helps them freeze individually, so that you don’t find yourself with a frozen rhubarb brick.)
  4. Drop the frozen items in freezer baggage, label the bag, and toss them again within the freezer.

7. Now comes the very best half: cooking!

We now have tons of rhubarb recipes that take full benefit of the season’s earliest and freshest taste. We now have plenty of favourite rhubarb recipes, though a few of the ones we make may be discovered under.

A white bowl of rhubarb and pistachios over thick yogurt on a patterned tablecloth.

Rhubarb and Pistachios over Thick Yogurt

I am such a fan of rhubarb that I featured the rosy stalks on the duvet of my seasonal cookbook, Lucid Meals, which mixes my locavore tendencies with my Persian ancestry. Do this easy recipe for an unique different to the basic rhubarb pie.

A rhubarb brown sugar pie cut into 7 wedges with one slice missing.

Rhubarb Brown Sugar Pie

This rhubarb brown sugar pie marries a sweet-tart rhubarb and brown sugar filling with a young, flaky butter crust. The result’s pie perfection.


Two jars of peach and rhubarb jam with some peaches in the background and a plate with a piece of bread topped with the jam.

Peach and Rhubarb Jam

This peach and rhubarb jam preserves the flavour of ripe, juicy peaches and tart rhubarb, which suggests you may be reminded of summer season even on the coldest winter day.


Four individual servings of cardamom panna cotta with rhubarb on a serving tray.

Cardamom Panna Cotta with Rhubarb

Cardamom panna cotta with rhubarb is a sublime, but easy, dessert that makes use of seasonal rhubarb and even strawberries. A creamy base is infused with cardamom, making it as irresistible as it’s straightforward.

A canning jar filled with rhubarb vodka and pieces of rhubarb with several crystal glasses partially filled with rhubarb vodka beside it.

Rhubarb Vodka

Rhubarb vodka. The straightforward do-it-yourself hooch–produced from rhubarb, vodka, and sugar–makes a reasonably spring tonic and assured it’s what mother actually needs for Mom’s Day.


Initially printed Might 14, 2021

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