Rhubarb: a vegetable with large leaves and a long stalk


Sour spring vegetable with huge broad leaves and thick stems, taste similar to lemon, but even better. Who has not soaked rhubarb stalks in sugar… I dream of a rhubarb cake that I will make today! 

In this article, let’s look at where rhubarb comes from; how they grow; what are their types and, of course, delicious rhubarb recipes. 

Rhubarb history

Rhubarb originally originated in Asia, but in the 1600s they were introduced to Europe and shortly thereafter to America. It grows in areas with cooler climates, making it popular in northern gardens. Rhubarb is easy to grow, but it needs a period of dormancy to really develop and produce a huge amount of stems.

The stems are the only edible part of the rhubarb plant. Boiling them has a rich, juicy taste. The leaves of the rhubarb plant are toxic - they contain an irritant called oxalic acid, so make sure they are not swallowed.

The wonderful thing about rhubarb is that they produce for many years. For this reason, rhubarb should be planted in any corner of your garden. It grows well in soils enriched with large amounts of manure or compost, so some gardeners will even plant it nearby or inside their compost

Rhubarb planting

rhubarb seedling

Rhubarb is planted in early spring as soon as the land is operational. Rhubarb can also be planted in the autumn after peace.

Rhubarb seedlings are planted from April to August - the plants need time to take root. Moisture is a very important factor for successful rhubarb cultivation - it must be abundantly watered in dry weather. If watering is difficult to provide. If the plants are watered and have received enough nutrients, the plantation will produce for at least 10-12 years.

For rhubarb growing, a place that is clean of weeds and warms up as quickly as possible so that an earlier harvest can be obtained. It should be remembered that the large and wide leaves of rhubarb perhaps as a great decor and addition to a flower bed or garden. 

Loose, permeable, humus-rich sandy or loamy soil with a pH of 5,5-6,5 is the most suitable. Rhubarb needs a lot of nutrients, so the field must be carefully fertilized with organic fertilizer, green manure and also complex fertilizer as a basic fertilizer before planting. It is best to use richly decomposed manure before planting rhubarb. Compost or peat is used to increase the organic content. The place for planting rhubarb should be prepared at a depth of 30 - 40 cm (arable layer) in the autumn of the previous year.

Open, well-lit places are most suitable for growing rhubarb. In small gardens, rhubarb can also be grown under trees if the rhubarb receives enough light.

Planted all summer - if there are several seedlings or a larger area is planted, a growing distance of at least 1,2-1,5 m must be ensured. Each rhubarb should provide about 2 m2 area.

Health effects of rhubarb

Rhubarb is a great food for dieters because it is very low in calories, but it is rich in fiber. Rhubarb contains about as much fiber as apples, oranges and celery - two grams for every 100 grams of a plant. 100 grams of rhubarb contains only 116 calories.

Rhubarb is high in vitamin K1 - 100 grams of the plant contains about 26 to 37 percent of the recommended daily allowance of the vitamin. It also contains quite a lot of calcium, but given that this plant is also very rich in oxalic acid, it will not be of any benefit to the body.

The fiber in rhubarb has a positive effect on the level of cholesterol in the blood - it reduces the amount of so-called "bad" cholesterol. True, any product with a high fiber content has a similar effect. The fiber in rhubarb is no different from that found in other plants.

This plant also contains valuable vitamins P, C, A, B, pectin, from minerals - potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron and aluminum (the latter substances in such quantities as not to cause poisoning).

Remember that it is not recommended to eat an unlimited amount of rhubarb. Excessive use can have a number of unpleasant and even dangerous side effects. But now we all know that everything has to be used with mayor.

13 best rhubarb varieties

rhubarb variety - action slipper
  • Cherry red
  • Chimpanzee Canadian Red
  • Crimson red
  • German wine
  • Glaskin eternal
  • Hardijs Tartijs
  • Holstein bloody
  • KangaRhu
  • Prince Albert
  • Riverside sheer
  • Sunrise
  • Temporarily fast 
  • Viktorija

Facts about rhubarb

  • The binomial name for rhubarb is Rheum rhabarbarum - the specific epithet is from Latin and means "barbarian root".
  • Rhubarb leaves are poisonous, they are full of more oxalic acid than humans and animals can safely consume. Small amounts of oxalic acid are found in the stalks we eat - due to the acidity, rhubarb has a "tandex". (You will also find small amounts of oxalic acid in sorrel and spinach).
  • Contrary to popular belief, although rhubarb leaves are poisonous, they can actually be composted. The acids in them will break down just like any other natural chemical found in plants and will not cause compost toxicity.
  • Rhubarb is a perennial. And it is resistant to cold. Just like driving over it in a truck. Or ignite. And it can even survive these things.
  • Rhubarb is a botanical vegetable, but in cooking we treat it like fruit and often eat it in desserts. In 1947, the United States gave it the legal name 'fruit' in order to avoid the high tariffs imposed on imported vegetables.
  • Rhubarb is sometimes called the "pie plant". Everyone has ever eaten a rhubarb pie (or better yet, a strawberry rhubarb pie).
  • In rhubarb, the red color is associated with the presence of anthocyanins, the same chemicals that cause the leaves of some deciduous trees to turn red in the fall.
  • Rhubarb root has been used as a laxative in Chinese medicine for thousands of years.
  • If you like to dye textiles with natural vegetable dyes, rhubarb leaves are a good mordant (just handle them very carefully!). The roots will turn brown.
  • Store harvested rhubarb stalks in the refrigerator and use as soon as possible. Rhubarb freezes well.
  • Do not harvest rhubarb in the heat, as the stalks will wither quickly.
  • When it comes to rhubarb harvesting - pull or cut? Always drag! If the stalks are cut, it can contribute to rot. It is not recommended to take more than half of the plant at a time stems.

Rhubarb recipes 

rhubarb bread

Shashlik marinade in rhubarb juice
Rhubarb cake
Rhubarb flatbread
Rhubarb ice tea

look for more similar and different recipes in the section - recipes!

How to prepare rhubarb for winter?

Rhubarb for winter stocks can be prepared by canning, such as jam or compote.

However, if you want to keep the real rhubarb taste and texture, you can also freeze them. The first step is to choose rhubarb stalks suitable for freezing - firm, yet crispy. Rhubarb stalks, which are already slightly wrapped, will not be suitable for freezing. If the rhubarb is to be frozen immediately after plucking, the leaves are cut off, but if they are to be kept in the refrigerator for another day or two before being frozen, the rhubarb stalks are left at a height of about five centimeters. This is necessary so that the rhubarb stalks do not dry out.

When the rhubarb is crushed, the ends are trimmed to prepare for freezing. Then cut them into 2-4 centimeter pieces and rinse under cool, running water. Rub the rhubarb pieces in a colander and allow to dry for at least 20 minutes to keep them dry and clean.

Then rub the rhubarb pieces in freezing dishes or bags. Important - rhubarb must be dry to prevent the formation of ice crystals. When the rhubarb is filled in dishes or bags, they are placed in the freezer and quickly frozen.

Freezing rhubarb can suppress the question - do they need to be peeled beforehand? If desired, it can be done, but rhubarb pieces will retain their shape better if not peeled. Peeled rhubarb pieces after thawing tend to break down fibers.