is a lovely vegetable - yes rhubarb is a vegetable and the delicate, slender stems of early rhubarb appearing in the shops is always cause for celebration and time to get the rhubarb recipes
out. The arrival of rhubarb heralds the waning of the cold winter months and the promise of spring just around the corner. How cheering the vibrant pink color of rhubarb is on a grey day and how delicious too.
Choosing and Using Rhubarb
- The telling sign of fresh rhubarb is not only its bright color, the rhubarb stalks should be firm and upright, the leaves a pale yellow and never black.
- As with all local, seasonal foods, rhubarb is best eaten fresh.
- Also, avoid storing rhubarb for too long.
- If it's not possible to eat the rhubarb straight away, simply top and tail the stalks, cut the rhubarb stalks into small pieces and poach gently, three or four minutes, in a little sugared water. Cool and freeze. This simple rhubarb compote can be used in pies and crumbles, folded into custard and whipped cream or in many other recipes.
RecipesSome of the best recipes for rhubarb are "nursery-food" rhubarb pies, puddings, crumbles, and of course, with custard. However, in recent years rhubarb has enjoyed a lofty status appearing on menus at top restaurants alongside game, lamb and beef and on one menu, even with mackerel.
Rhubarb Fact File
- Rhubarb (genus Rheum) belongs to the plant family Polygonaceae. Contrary to popular belief, Rhubarb is a vegetable, not a fruit, being a close relative of garden Sorrel.
- The stalks of rhubarb though tart are edible, the leaves however are toxic.
- Early spring rhubarb doesn't need peeling, simply trim and wash.
- Rhubarb is 95% water. It contains no fat, sodium or cholesterol.
- Rhubarb contains a fair source of potassium. The crisp, sour stalks are rich in vitamin C, dietary fibre and calcium.
- The calcium in rhubarb combines with oxalic acid making it hard for the body to absorb.