The rhubarb plant has wide green leaves with long red, pinkish, or green stalks. Only the stalks are edible. The leaves are poisonous if eaten and should always be discarded. Rhubarb is very tart. For this reason, it is often cooked with sugar and used in desserts. However, its tart flavor also makes a good addition to barbecue sauces and various savory dishes. Rhubarb is a good source of vitamin K and also contains vitamin C, potassium, calcium, and manganese.
First, trim off and discard any leaves. The rhubarb stalks will keep for about a week stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. Rhubarb freezes easily for longer storage. To freeze, cut the stalks into one-inch slices. Spread the slices on a cookie sheet and place in the freezer until frozen. Pack the frozen pieces in plastic freezer bags or other freezer containers. Frozen rhubarb will keep for up to a year.
Rinse the rhubarb in cold water. Trim off the base of the stalk and any leaves. Slice into pieces, one inch or larger, depending on the needs of your recipe.
A common way to eat rhubarb is by stewing it. Stewed rhubarb can be eaten as is or used as a sauce or flavoring addition to many dishes. To make stewed rhubarb, for every 2 cups of rhubarb, add 1 tablespoon of water and 3 tablespoons of white or brown sugar (or adjust to taste).
Stovetop: Place the ingredients in a saucepan. Simmer over low heat, stirring often, until tender, about 10 minutes.
Microwave: Place the ingredients in a microwave-safe dish. Cover loosely. Microwave on high until tender, about 5 minutes or so.
How to Use Rhubarb
- Add sliced rhubarb to muffin, biscuit, or bread recipes
- Make rhubarb pie or crisp, or add rhubarb to an apple pie or crisp recipe
- Stir stewed rhubarb into yogurt or oatmeal
- Pour stewed rhubarb over ice cream or pudding
- Use stewed rhubarb as a pancake topping