Get The Most Out of Your Rhubarb from Backyard Eats

Harvesting Rhubarb

When It’s Ready
  • Regularly check the growth of your rhubarb plants. They typically become ready for harvest when the stalks are thick and reach a length of about 12-18 inches.
  • Harvest rhubarb stalks when they are firm and have a vibrant color, such as deep red or bright pink, depending on the variety. Avoid harvesting stalks that are thin or green, as they may be underdeveloped.
  • Rhubarb is typically ready for harvest in late spring to early summer, depending on your location and the climate. Harvest stalks when they reach maturity, usually after the plant has been growing for at least two to three years.
  • Spring through early summer, typically from April to June
How To
  • Use a sharp knife to cut rhubarb stalks at the base, near ground level. Pulling or twisting the stalks may damage the plant.
  • Leave a few stalks on the plant to continue photosynthesis and support future growth.
  • It’s best to harvest rhubarb in the morning when the stalks are crisp and full of moisture. Avoid harvesting during hot weather, as the stalks may become limp and less flavorful.

Growing Rhubarb

Rhubarb is a vibrant and tangy vegetable that is often treated as a fruit in culinary applications. With large, leafy stalks ranging in color from pale green to deep red, rhubarb offers a unique tartness that adds depth to both sweet and savory dishes. Rich in vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber, rhubarb is not only flavorful but also nutritious. It’s a versatile ingredient, commonly used in pies, jams, sauces, and compotes, as well as in savory dishes like chutneys and roasted meats. With its striking appearance and bold flavor profile, rhubarb remains a favorite among home cooks and professional chefs alike.

Storing Rhubarb

After harvesting, remove any leaves, as they are toxic, and discard them. Store the rhubarb stalks in the refrigerator for up to a week. For longer-term storage, rhubarb can be frozen after blanching.

Cooking With Rhubarb

  1. Rhubarb Compote: Simmer chopped rhubarb with sugar and a splash of water until softened, then serve warm or chilled over yogurt, ice cream, or oatmeal.
  2. Rhubarb Crisp: Combine sliced rhubarb with sugar and a touch of cinnamon, then top with a crumbly mixture of oats, flour, butter, and brown sugar. Bake until bubbly and golden brown for a delicious dessert.
  3. Rhubarb Jam: Cook rhubarb with sugar and lemon juice until thickened to create a tangy and sweet jam that pairs well with toast, scones, or as a filling for thumbprint cookies.
  4. Rhubarb Pie: Fill a pie crust with a mixture of sliced rhubarb, sugar, and a bit of flour or cornstarch to thicken. Top with another crust or a lattice pattern and bake until the filling is bubbly and the crust is golden brown.
  5. Rhubarb Sauce: Blend cooked rhubarb with sugar and a splash of orange juice for a versatile sauce that can be used as a topping for pancakes, waffles, or grilled meats like pork or chicken.
  6. Rhubarb Chutney: Combine chopped rhubarb with onions, vinegar, brown sugar, and spices like ginger and cloves to make a flavorful chutney that pairs well with cheese, crackers, or grilled vegetables.
  7. Rhubarb Syrup: Simmer rhubarb with sugar and water until syrupy, then strain and cool. Use the syrup to sweeten cocktails, lemonade, or sparkling water for a refreshing beverage.
  8. Rhubarb Salsa: Mix diced rhubarb with tomatoes, onions, jalapeños, cilantro, lime juice, and a pinch of salt for a unique twist on traditional salsa. Serve with tortilla chips or grilled fish or chicken.
  9. Rhubarb Muffins: Fold chopped rhubarb into your favorite muffin batter for a tart and sweet breakfast treat. Top with a streusel topping for added crunch.
  10. Rhubarb Sorbet: Puree cooked rhubarb with sugar syrup and lemon juice, then churn in an ice cream maker until frozen. Serve the refreshing sorbet on its own or as a palate cleanser between courses.

Try These Rhubarb Recipes: