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How to Cook and Prepare Rhubarb

How to Cook and Prepare Rhubarb

Take advantage of seasonal produce and learn how to cook rhubarb dishes for your family and friends. From purchasing rhubarb at the supermarket to exploring which flavors best complement rhubarb, find advice on how to prepare rhubarb with this helpful guide from My Food and Family.

For a little background, rhubarb is a vegetable that is used like a fruit in cooking. Rhubarb can have green or pink to red stalks—similar to celery stalks—and large green leaves. The only part of the plant that is edible is the stalk; the leaves are unsafe to eat and must be removed and discarded. The tart-flavored stalks are typically served sweetened and cooked. Field-grown rhubarb is available April through July, while hothouse varieties are sold January through June.

Below you’ll find some of our best rhubarb cooking tips. Also, check out our rhubarb recipes collection for great ways to incorporate it into your repertoire once you learn how to cook rhubarb.

Purchasing Rhubarb

  • Select bunches of rhubarb with crisp, straight well-colored stalks.
  • Avoid rhubarb with stalks that have blemishes or cuts.
  • Refrigerate unwashed rhubarb in a plastic bag for 3 to 5 days.
  • Freeze fresh, cut-up rhubarb in freezer-weight plastic bags for up to 9 months.

Preparing Rhubarb

  • Trim off and discard all leaves and the ends of the stalks.
  • Remove any brown spots or coarse strings with a vegetable peeler. Wash under cold running water.
  • Cut the stalks crosswise into 1- to 2-inch pieces according to the recipe you’re using. Because it breaks down easily during cooking, rhubarb is usually not cut into small pieces.

Rhubarb Nutrition

  • Low in calories
  • Naturally fat free

Serving Rhubarb

  • Combine rhubarb with other foods and flavors that sweeten or complement its natural tartness, such as strawberries, apples, ginger, cinnamon, orange and maple.
  • Stir rhubarb pieces into muffin, quick bread and coffee cake batters.
  • Substitute rhubarb for half of the fruit in your favorite crisp and cobbler recipes and adjust sweetness accordingly.
  • Simmer sweetened rhubarb into a sauce and serve over ice cream and pancakes.

How to Cook Rhubarb: Rhubard Recipes

As far as seasonal produce goes, rhubarb is one of our favorite vegetables to bring to the table. Its tart flavor makes it a great addition to cobblers, crisps, syrups and much more. For a dessert that will impress the entire family, try our Rhubarb Dump Cake or our Fresh Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie, both great to make with fresh rhubarb in the warmer months. Try preserving your rhubarb with our recipe for SURE-JELL Strawberry-Rhubarb Jam so you can enjoy the summer harvest all year round! Add strawberries into the mix with our Fresh Strawberry-Rhubarb Fool, o make your day a little sweeter with our Rhubarb-Vanilla Meringue, delicious any time of year. Try your hand at a tasty rhubarb recipe today!

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