Rhubarb, with its roots in the latin word for “barbarian,” refers to the peasants who originally harvested this weed-like plant along Russia’s Volga River. It’s the only true vegetable we use as a fruit.
GOOD FOR YOU
Rhubarb is full of vitamin C, potassium, folate, calcium and fibre. It also contains antibacterial compounds that fight infections, detoxify the body and help prevent heart disease and cancer.
Pull only red stalks away at the base of the plant by twisting them off.
Rhubarb is available May to October. Look for firm, crisp stems wihtout belmishes. The redder, the better.
Remove the leaves; only the stem is edible. Cut the lower part of the stem and pull off the celery-like strings. Rhubarb is stewed for compotes, glazes and marinades, baked in pies and incorporated into sorbets and fruit punches. To tame its tartness, cook your rhubarb with sweet fruits like strawberries or apples. That way, you won’t have to add sugar to sweeten it up.
Rhubarb is highly acidic. When cooking, use a non-reactive pot to avoid discolouring the rhubarb and the pot.
For off-season enjoyment, cut stems into once-inch-long pieces and freeze in a sealable plastic container.