Seasonal Sunday: Rhubarb

We’re a bit late to the party – National Rhubarb Pie Day was celebrated on Sunday, June 9th this year! Lucky for us, our favorite spring vegetable, rhubarb, is still in season. This post kicks off our Seasonal Sunday series, which will zoom in on one in-season vegetable each week. We’ll give you a brief history, some fun facts, and a few ideas for how to eat it! Let’s get started.

A rhubarb plant in early spring growing new stalks.
Image by Karolina Grabowska

About Rhubarb:

  • Originally from China, the first records of rhubarb are dated to 2700 B.C. It’s believed to have been initially cultivated for medicinal purposes.
  • In 1837 our leafy friend became all the rage in 19th century England, thanks to a new variety, named Victoria Rhubarb after the queen.
  • “Forced Rhubarb” – a growing technique that produces sweeter, more tender stalks, by growing crowns inside with limited light – was also popularized in 19th century England.  
  • Though often considered a fruit because of its frequent appearance in dessert recipes, Rhubarb is technically a vegetable.
  • Only the red stalks are safe to ingest! Rhubarb’s big green leaves are high in oxalic acid.  
  • Rhubarb stalks are high in fiber, vitamin C, B-Complex vitamins, and many other beneficial components.
  • One study has even indicated that rhubarb consumption can protect against Alzheimer’s Disease!
  • Rhubarb is a perennial, which means once you plant a crown, it will come back year after year. Envious of your neighbors’ beautiful Rhubarb patch? Ask if you can take a clump – it’s easy to propagate in the early spring or late fall.
  • Apparently you can even use Rhubarb to lighten your hair – bring on the summer highlights!
Cut rhubarb stems piled on a table at a farmers' market.

Suggested Recipes:

What’s your favorite way to prepare Rhubarb? Let us know in the comments.

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