The folks at B&H Organic Produce sent me some photos of their rhubarb and I wanted to share with you how this vegetable grows.
The rhubarb plant has a center stalk, with multiple leafy stems growing out of that center stalk. It is the stems of the leaves that are the edible portion of the plant. They are red, pink or greenish in color, and look a lot like a stalk of celery without the ridges.
The plant has huge leaves, and, yes, the leaves are poisonous. They contain very high levels of oxalic acid which, if ingested in a large enough quantity, can damage the kidneys. So if you ever wondered why rhubarb is missing it's leaves at the market - that's the reason.
Now, if you've ever taken a big bite of raw rhubarb to see what all the fuss was about, well, you'd be sorely disappointed. Why? It's terrifically tart, seriously TART! But relax - sugar calms the beast!
Most of us are more than aware of the deliciousness of a rhubarb pie - it's a spring treat not to be missed. Plus rhubarb pairs intensely well with strawberries in strawberry rhubarb pie. And, if you don't feel like baking a pie, I can strongly recommend the rhubarb pie from Nomadic Pies - it's exceptional!
But there's more to do with rhubarb than bake it in a pie.
- Push the easy button and stew it. I love stewed rhubarb alone, over ice cream or mixed into yogurt for breakfast
- Roasted Rhubarb - a more intense flavor and to die for over ice cream, vanilla or strawberry ice cream!
- Pickled Rhubarb - a real treat and so easy!
- Rhubarb Salsa - great on chips, grilled chicken or fish too!
- Rhubarb Fizz - gin, it must be good
So there are a few recipes to get you started experimenting with rhubarb.
FYI - rhubarb is super low in calories (without the sugar addition) and is a good source of folate, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6, thiamin, and pantothenic acid, as well as vitamin K.