Harvest of the Month: Rhubarb

Commonly referred to as the “pie plant,” rhubarb is a member of the buckwheat family and is actually a vegetable, not a fruit. Though often used for baked goods, rhubarb has astounding nutritional value! It has protein, three different vitamins, calcium, and potassium to name a few. Rhubarb is one of the lowest caloric vegetables and it is recommended for those individuals struggling to lose weight. It is also recommended for cardiovascular health, digestion, and Alzheimer’s disease.

How to Select

When buying fresh rhubarb, look for moderately thin, crisp, dark pink to red stalks. Greener, thicker stocks are more stringy and sour. Leaves should be crisp and free of blemishes. Rhubarb’s peak season is April-June but it is normally available year-round.

How to Store

Fresh rhubarb is perishable and should be kept in a plastic bag in the crisper drawer. It is best when stored only 3-5 days before use. If you need to freeze rhubarb, cut it into one-inch chunks and store in an airtight bag. Rhubarb is also easily canned.

How to Prepare

Rhubarb is best served when stewed or braised. To do this, first wash the rhubarb and slice each stalk into one-inch chunks, discarding the leaves as they should not be eaten. Mix equal parts water and sweetener of your choice in a sauce pan. Boil the mixture, stirring until the sweetener is dissolved. Next, stir in the chopped rhubarb and bring to a boil then lower heat to a simmer and cook uncovered for 10-15 minutes.

Try rhubarb in the delicious recipe for Oatmeal Rhubarb Porridge from Eating Well.

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