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See also: Rhubarb After June 1st ; Article on Rhubarb

RHUBARB

Fresh rhubarb should be stored at 35 degrees F. with good ventilation. It will keep for several weeks, but flavor deteriorates quickly.

SELECTION
Hothouse, or strawberry, rhubarb appears in markets as early as January and continues to be stocked through April. Field-grown, or cherry, rhubarb begins to arrive in markets in March and can continue to arrive through the summer (depending on the area where it is grown). Spring stalks are the juiciest and most-tender.

Fresh stalks are flat, not curled or limp. When stalks that have been pulled-not cut-from the field are available; choose them. Pulled stalks dry out less rapidly. Size is no indicator of tenderness. Deep red stalks are sweeter and richer.

STORAGE
Wrap rhubarb in plastic wrap and store it in the coldest part of the refrigerator for up to one week. Cooked and raw rhubarb both freeze well.

PREPARATION
Cut off and discard and leaves (see warning). Rinse and trim from base and tip. You may peel or cut with the skin intact. Remember to cook only in non-aluminum pots only due to the acidic nature of rhubarb.

VARIETIES -
RED STALK TYPES:
• Crimson (may also be called Crimson Cherry, Crimson Red, or Crimson Wine). It produces brightly colored red stalks with the unique characteristic of being red throughout under normal temperature and moisture conditions of the Pacific Northwest.
• Other vigorous red varieties are Valentine and Cherry Red (Cherry, Early Cherry), producing long, thick, deep-red stalks.

SPECKLED TYPES (PINK):
• Victoria produces large stalks of excellent quality, long, round with smooth ribs. It develops pink speckling on a light green stalk with the pink color being more intense at the bottom of the stalk, fading to a solid green near the top. Victoria is commonly used for forcing.
• Strawberry is very similar to Victoria, and may be the same variety.
• MacDonald is another "pink" type that produces well.
• German Wine is similar to Victoria but slightly more vigorous and more intense in color, typically with a darker pink speckling on a green stem.

GREEN VARIETIES:
Riverside Giant, a cold-hardy, vigorous producer with large diameter, long, green stalks.
CDC.gov - 5 a Day

  • Top frozen yogurt with berries and rhubarb-adds a twist!
  • Add cooked rhubarb into a fruit topping for poultry.
  • Add rhubarb to your favorite pie or fruit bread.

WARNING: Never eat rhubarb leaves, cooked or raw. Eating the leaves can be poisonous because they contain oxalate. This toxin, plus another unknown toxin also found in the leaves, has been reported to cause poisoning when large quantities of raw or cooked leaves are ingested.


 

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