Rhubarb is a vegetable with a tart, slightly sour taste. It is commonly used in cooking and is sometimes made into jam or into baking pies and desserts. But did you ever think about Rhubarb? What does it taste like in its original form?
Rhubarb is a vegetable perfect for making jams and pies, but it can also be added to salads or as a topping on yogurt. This stalky plant has been around since ancient times, but you might not know how to prepare it properly.
This guide covers everything from storage methods and varieties of rhubarb to how best to cook the stalks down into delicious desserts and more.
What Is Rhubarb?
Rhubarb is a vegetable, not a fruit. Additionally, it belongs to the buckwheat family.
It has red stems, green leaves, and long, greenish-white flowers. The bright pink stalk is the edible part of this perennial plant. It is very sour, so a lot of sugar is added to the cooking process.
Moreover, rhubarb has been used in medicine since ancient times, although today, it’s mostly used to flavor foods and drinks. It has a tart flavor and can be eaten raw or cooked.
Rhubarb leaves are unfortunately poisonous and must be avoided.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Rhubarb?
The rhubarb plant has been used to treat digestive disorders and other ailments for centuries. It’s also great for lowering blood pressure, preventing muscle cramps, and fighting cancer.
Its health benefits come from plant chemicals called anthocyanins, which give the plant its characteristic red color. Because of their anti-inflammatory properties, they are useful in treating arthritis.
They also act as antioxidants, which means they can help fight cancer.
Side Effects Of Rhubarb
Though rhubarb has been used for centuries to treat many ailments, it is not without its risks. Common adverse reactions include:
Diarrhea And Vomiting: Rhubarb can cause diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach cramps, especially when taken in large doses.
Nausea, Gas, And Bloating: Rhubarb can cause nausea, gas, and bloating. These effects are caused by the high levels of sorbitol found in rhubarb.
Dehydration: Rhubarb can cause dehydration because it has a diuretic effect. It can cause you to urinate more than usual.
Loss Of Appetite: Rhubarb is sometimes used as a weight loss aid because it has fiber and low calories. However, this is not true for everyone.
Some users have reported that rhubarb made them lose their appetites and caused them to feel sick after eating it.
Headache: Some users have reported headaches after taking rhubarb tea or supplementing with rhubarb capsules or tablets. This may be due to oxalic acid in the plant, which is known to cause headaches in some people.
When Is Rhubarb In Season?
Rhubarb is at its peak during springtime, depending on where you live. However, growing rhubarb in your garden year-round is possible if you live in a warmer climate.
The best way to tell when rhubarb is ready for picking is by looking for deep red stalks with crisp leaves about an inch wide.
Different Rhubarb Varieties
As with any vegetable, there are several different types of rhubarb that you can choose from. While their differences are minimal, they have slightly different flavors and textures.
Here are the most typical varieties you’ll find at your local grocery store:
This rhubarb is the way to go if you’re looking for a sweet-and-sour flavor. It has a deep red color and a firm texture that lends itself well to cooking.
This variety is great for baking, as it has a high sugar content and a firm texture. It’s also easy to find and quite affordable. The downside is that it’s not ideal for eating raw, as the tartness can overwhelm your palate.
Chipman’s Canada Red
This rhubarb variety will give you what you need if you want something more bitter. It has an orange hue and crunchy texture, making it ideal for stews and jams.
This variety is similar to Cherry Red because of its firm texture and high sugar content, but it tends to be sweeter. It’s also more expensive than Cherry Red and less common in grocery stores.
Crimson Red is known for its unique color. It’s not quite pink or red, and its juicy texture makes it perfect for salads or smoothies.
This variety has an intense flavor and a firm texture that lends itself well to cooking. It’s often used in salads or stir-fries.
German Wine is another variety with an orange hue and an earthy flavor that pairs well with savory dishes like pork chops or fish fillets.
German Wine is another popular variety because it produces large stalks with a lovely pink coloring when cooked. The stalks have a tart taste when raw but become sweeter when cooked with sugar or honey.
Glaskin’s Perpetual produces bigger stalks than most other types and has a sweet taste, though not as sweet as some other varieties.
This rhubarb is one of the best varieties because it has large stalks that keep well and store for months without losing flavor or texture. It’s also an early variety, so it will be ready to harvest before other types of rhubarb are ready to eat.
How To Prep Rhubarb For Cooking
To prep rhubarb for cooking, you’ll need to remove the leaves from the stalk. You can remove them by peeling the outer layer of leaves using a paring knife.
Make sure not to break off any of the stalk itself.
Then, cut off the base and the leafy tops of the rhubarb. The stalks will be about 1-2 inches thick and should be roughly equal in size.
If any are larger than others, trim them down so that all your stalks are approximately the same thickness.
Finally, chop your rhubarb into chunks about ½ inch wide and 2 inches long.
Different Uses Of Rhubarb In Cooking And Baking
Rhubarb works well in both sweet and savory dishes. It’s also a great way to add color to any dish. Here are some suggestions for cooking and baking delicious dishes with rhubarb:
Use it as a topping on your favorite dessert or ice cream. It spruces up the dish with a splash of color and a burst of flavor. You can use rhubarb leaves as a garnish for salads and desserts.
Use rhubarb in your next pie recipe. The tartness of the rhubarb will pair perfectly with other flavors like apples or strawberries for an amazing taste sensation that everyone will love.
Make sure not to overcook this vegetable, though. It can get mushy quickly if you leave it too long in the oven.
Rhubarb is delicious when made into jam. It makes an excellent spread for toast or scones, or you can make it into a jelly perfect for pairing with cheese plates or as an accompaniment for sandwiches.
If you’re looking for an easy way to incorporate more rhubarb into your diet, try making a smoothie. You can make your own with frozen or fresh rhubarb or buy one pre-made at the grocery store.
Additionally, you can also combine other fruits and vegetables with the rhubarb for added flavor and texture. Some popular options are mangoes, strawberries, bananas, blueberries, and even spinach.
A compote is a cooked fruit dish reduced to a thick consistency. It is frequently served cold and has a jam-like consistency.
You can use rhubarb compote to accompany your favorite dessert or even on top of pancakes or waffles.
These are sweet-and-sour sauces made from fruits and vegetables used as condiments for savory foods like meats or fish dishes.
You can make rhubarb chutney by combining chopped rhubarb with brown sugar, vinegar, mustard seeds, garlic cloves, onions, and other ingredients, depending on your preferences.
This dish combines crumbled cookies with an assortment of fresh fruits and berries to make a delicious treat and serve as an appetizer at parties and potlucks.
If you’re feeling adventurous enough, try making this fruit-based condiment that works great with meats such as pork chops or hamburgers.
You can even try it with other components, such as butter or cream cheese, before spreading it on some toast or waffles and serving it to your guests.
How To Store Fresh Rhubarb
If you have access to fresh rhubarb, you should know how long it will keep and where it will keep best. Here are some tips for storing fresh rhubarb:
Rhubarb should be stored in the refrigerator in a plastic bag or wrapped in a damp paper towel. Using this method, it will maintain its quality for up to three weeks.
Store it on the top shelf of your fridge so it doesn’t get crushed by anything else.
Do not store rhubarb with apples or other fruits, as they will cause it to decay more quickly.
How To Freeze Rhubarb
The best way to keep rhubarb for later use is to freeze it.
- Wash and trim the rhubarb stems, then cut them into 1-inch pieces.
- Put the rhubarb into a large pot and cover it with water.
- Bring the water to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes or until the rhubarb is tender.
- Drain well and spread the rhubarb out on a baking sheet so it can cool quickly.
- When the rhubarb is cool enough to handle, put each piece in a freezer bag, label it with the current date, and freeze the rhubarb for up to 6 months.
How Long Does Rhubarb Last?
Rhubarb can last for several weeks if stored properly. If you choose not to freeze your rhubarb, it will last around five days when left at room temperature.
If you decide to freeze your rhubarb, it will last up to two months when stored properly in an airtight container or baggie without any excess moisture present inside the bag itself.
Once thawed out from being stored in either method above, you should use up your rhubarb within 24 hours before it spoils completely due to bacterial growth occurring inside each cell structure throughout its entire body structure as well as on any surfaces where its
How To Determine If Rhubarb Has Gone Bad
If you notice any changes in your rhubarb plant or product, you should know how to determine if it has gone bad so that you can safely use or dispose of it. What follows are a few indicators that should come in useful.
Does It look Discolored?
If your rhubarb has gone bad, it may have turned an unpleasant shade of brown or yellow. If this is the case, don’t eat it. This sign that something went wrong with your rhubarb, which should be thrown away.
Does It Smell Funny?
Rhubarb smells sweet and earthy when it’s fresh. If you open up a bag of old rhubarb and it doesn’t smell like anything at all or, worse yet, smells sour, throw it away immediately.
Is The Texture Weird?
Rhubarb should feel firm and crisp when you pick it up and not slimy or mushy. If you’re unsure about what your rhubarb should feel like, squeeze it in between two fingers and see how much resistance there is.
Does It Have Mold?
Check for mold growth on the leaves or stems of your rhubarb plant; if there’s any visible mold growth on these parts of the plant, then you should discard them immediately because they could make you ill if consumed.
What To Look For When Buying Rhubarb
When buying rhubarb, there are several things to look for to ensure quality.
First, look for bright green stalks with vibrant red tips. If the stalks have yellow or brown spots or are wilted, they may not be as fresh as they could be.
Next, make sure that the stalks aren’t blemished or damaged in any way. You’ll want to avoid rhubarb that has soft spots, discoloration, or other types of damage.
Finally, check to make sure that there aren’t any insects on your rhubarb.
Rhubarb vs. Celery
Rhubarb and celery are often confused for one another, and they’re not that different.
Both plants are in the celery family, along with many other vegetables. This means they share some similarities, like being crunchy and having a mild flavor.
They also have some differences. Rhubarb is a vegetable, while celery is a herb. Also, rhubarb is red, while celery is green.
Rhubarb has a sour taste and can be used in baking or as an alternative to strawberries in sauces. Celery is savory, with a sweeter flavor that pairs well with meats and cheeses.
USDA nutrition facts for 1 cup (122g) diced rhubarb.
Quick Table: 3 Rhubarb Taste Recipes
|Deliciously Easy Rhubarb BBQ Sauce||53||35 Minutes|
|Rhubarb Muffins With Greek Yogurt||192||40 Minutes|
|Norwegian Rhubarb And Almond Cake||293||50 Minutes|
This recipe is delicious and easy, but it’s also a great way to use up some of your rhubarb. The tartness of the rhubarb will be balanced by the sweetness of the sugar and molasses, and it’s sure to give your next barbecue a unique flavor.
Calories Per Serving: 53
Preparation Time: 35 Minutes
This recipe is perfect for spring because rhubarb is at its best during this time of year. These muffins have a wonderful taste and texture thanks to the addition of Greek yogurt and applesauce.
They are also quite easy to make because there’s no need for special equipment.
Calories Per Serving: 192
Preparation Time: 40 Minutes
If you’re looking for a fresh, fruity dessert, this Norwegian Rhubarb and Almond Cake is sure to please. This moist cake is made with rhubarb and almonds.
It’s topped with a delicious powdered sugar glaze that will have everyone coming back for seconds.
Calories Per Serving: 293
Preparation Time: 50 Minutes
Frequently Asked Questions
Is There A Difference Between Red And Green Rhubarb?
Green rhubarb is simply a young or “baby” version of red rhubarb. It’s not a different species, just a different stage of development. Green rhubarb is more sour and tart, whereas the red variety is sweeter and milder.
Is There A Difference Between Rhubarb And Celery?
Rhubarb and celery are leafy vegetables that bear stalks for harvesting but have distinctions.
Rhubarb is a perennial plant with thick juices, while celery is an annual plant with thinner juices. Rhubarb has a sweet taste, and celery has a bitter taste, but they can be used interchangeably in most recipes.
Is It Safe To Eat Raw Rhubarb?
It is safe to eat raw rhubarb. However, rhubarb leaves are toxic. They can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea when eaten raw.
The poisonous alkaloids in the leaves are even more concentrated in the roots, so don’t eat those, either.
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