Nutritionally low in calories, 1 cup contains 26 calories, rhubarb appears to look like red celery. It has large green leaves and was originally considered to be a vegetable. In 1947 in New York City, a court decided that since it was used as a fruit, it was to be counted as a fruit for the purposes of regulations and duties. Whether rhubarb is a vegetable or a fruit, the stem is usually cooked and used in various recipes, such as muffins, rhubarb liqueur, rhubarb compote, and rhubarb ice cream. You can grow this perennial for a long lived harvest.
Sunset Magazine discusses how to plant, cook, and care for rhubarb, and here is what they said.
- Start bare root plants in winter or early spring in full sun.
- Plant in part sun in the hottest regions.
- Rhubarb can grow 3 feet tall and 6 feet wide, so give it room to spread out.
- Rhubarb does best where the winters are cold.
- Water regularly and let it grow for two full years.
- Harvest in the third year.
- Always fertilize and water after you harvest.
- In the colder areas, it will die back in the winter.
- Pull stalks off young plants for four to five weeks in the spring.
- Older plants can take eight weeks of harvesting.
- Grasp stems near the base and pull sideways and out.
- Don't cut them with a knife because that will leave a stub that decays.
- Never remove all the stalks so the plant can keep growing.
- Cut out any blossoms that appear.
- Remember that rhubarb leaves are poisonous, so discard them and eat only the stalks.
Three rhubarb recipes:
- 1 cup of sugar
- 1 cup of water
- 4 quarts of chopped rhubarb
- 3 cups of vodka
- 1/4 cup of Grand Marnier
- This is to make the simple syrup. In a medium saucepan, combine sugar and water. Bring to a boil, stirring, until sugar has dissolved. Allow to cool.
- Mix 2 tablespoons of the simple syrup together with the chopped rhubarb, vodka, and Grand Marnier.
- Let sit until color is bright pink, about 3 weeks.
- Strain the mixture and your rhubarb liqueur is ready.
- 3 cups of chopped rhubarb
- 1 and 1/2 cups of sugar
- Simmer the rhubarb and the sugar until the rhubarb is tender, about 10 minutes.
- The rhubarb compote is ready to serve.
Rhubarb ice cream
- 1 gallon of vanilla ice cream.
- Rhubarb compote from above recipe.
- Soften vanilla ice cream.
- Mix the ice cream with the cooled compote.
- Refreeze until firm.
- The rhubarb ice cream is ready to serve.