Many of us can remember sitting on the porch step in the summer as a child snacking on freshly cut rhubarb from the garden. The best part, hands down, was dipping the tart stick in sugar!
Rhubarb and its long, ruby-pink and green stocks belong to the buckwheat family but look quite similar to celery, but just a little bit longer. Generally, it tops out at about two feet long!
There are two varieties of rhubarb to choose from, hothouse and field-grown. The hothouse variety has pale pinkish stocks with yellowish-green leaves and field-grown have a more robust flavour with a cherry red stock and green leaves.
How to Pick and Store Rhubarb:
Pick crisp, firm stocks that have a vibrant colour and are blemish free with fresh leaves.
Fresh rhubarb is quite perishable. Remove and discard leaves (since they’re mildly toxic), then place stocks in a perforated plastic bag in fridge for 3 to 5 days.
Cut the stocks into 1 to 2-inch pieces and store in an airtight container in the freezer — it will last up to nine months.
How to Prepare Rhubarb:
Wash and remove the leaves (they are not edible). Cut off the root end and discard. If the stock seems stringy (fibrous), peel it with a vegetable peeler or pairing knife – like you would with celery. Cut the stocks into 1 to 2-inch pieces, if any of the stocks are especially thick, also slice them in half lengthwise — this will help to keep all the pieces the same size.
1 pound of fresh rhubarb = three cups chopped = two cups cooked.
- The longer rhubarb cooks, the softer it becomes. Watch it carefully if you don’t want a jam-like consistency.
- Thin red or pink rhubarb stocks are more tender than thick green stocks and don’t need sweetened with as much sugar.
- To enhance the reddish colour of stewed rhubarb, add a few raspberries or strawberries to the mix. Adding them to this recipe for Stewed Rhubarb with Ice Cream and Granola would be delicious!
Rhubarb Goes Well With:
Apples, butter, caramel, cinnamon, ice cream, cream, custard, ginger, honey, lemon, orange, mint, raspberries, strawberries, sugar, vanilla, pastry, and pork.