What You Need to Know About Rhubarb

 

It’s springtime! While everyone is loading up their farmers market baskets and shopping carts with just-picked strawberries and baby lettuces and Vidalia onions, poor rhubarb gets overlooked every year.

This underappreciated vegetable—yes, it’s a vegetable!—is most often playing a backup role to strawberries in pies. And while strawberry-rhubarb pie is delicious (especially the one above), rhubarb can be used in so many other ways.

First off, choose your rhubarb wisely. The long red-to-pink stalks look a lot like oversized stalks of celery. Look for medium-size stalks, which are less stringy than their larger counterparts. Some say the brighter the color, the more flavorful the rhubarb. And always trim off and discard any leaves—they are toxic. (Which is why they are generally stripped of leaves before they are sold.) Rhubarb has a short growing season; it’s widely available from April to June, so get it while you can.

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