Rhubarb is an easy to grow perennial that will provide for many years once planted. You can harvest rhubarb once the stalks reach 12 to 18 inches tall, on the second year after planting. To harvest, simply grab the base of the stalk then pull! I always cut the leaves off right at the patch with a kitchen scissors. You don’t want to eat the leaves because they’re bitter and can make you sick.
Whether you’re picking rhubarb from a patch in your yard or from the market shelves, look for firm, crisp stalks. The ones with the most red are said to be sweetest, but rhubarb varieties do differ as to how red the stalks get.
To store rhubarb, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator, where it will keep from 1 to 2 weeks. It’s best not to wash it until your ready to use it.
So what about nutrition? Rhubarb contains a variety of nutrients including vitamin K, to help keep your bones healthy, and beta-carotene, which helps ensure your vision stays bright! The stalks also contain iron, copper, calcium, potassium, and phosphorus.
So are you ready to try rhubarb? Why not try my one of my favorite spring recipes called Simplified Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp. It’s from my cookbook, Jenny’s Country Kitchen…Recipes for Making Homemade a Little Easier!
- 4 to 5 cups chopped rhubarb
- 2 (16 oz.) pkgs. frozen sweetened & sliced strawberries, thawed
- ¼ cup quick cooking tapioca
- 2 cups old fashioned oats
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly oil a 9×13-inch baking dish. In a large bowl, thoroughly combine the rhubarb, strawberries and tapioca. Spread the fruit mixture into the prepared baking dish. In a separate bowl, stir together oats, flour, brown sugar and cinnamon. Cut in butter until well combined. Sprinkle topping evenly over fruit mixture. Bake 45 minutes or until the topping is golden brown and the fruit is bubbling.
- *You can also divide this into two 8×8-inch baking pans and freeze one to bake later!