Our Rhubarb is Going Gangbusters!

Rhubarb is one of the first perennial crops to emerge at Stade’s Farm and this year our crop is going gangbusters! Also known as the ‘pie plant,” the rhubarb plant expands over the ground in a large spread, displaying its edible stalks that are rose red. Once established, rhubarb lives for 10-15 years.

Many people don’t realize that rhubarb is a member of the buckwheat family and is actually a vegetable, not a fruit. It is often cooked, sweetened and combined with other fruits , like Stade’s Strawberries to make strawberry rhubarb pie or even strawberry rhubarb ice cream. The edible stalks can grow up to 18 inches long and 1 to 2 inches in diameter. The redder the stalks, the sweeter the taste.

Thinking about making a strawberry-rhubarb pie? You will need 1 pound of fresh rhubarb to yield about 3 cups chopped or 2 cups cooked for your pie. Oh, and don’t forget the sweet Stade’s strawberries available mid-June.

Ever wondered if eating rhubarb leaves has any benefit? The answer is no! There is a reason that rhubarb is sold without its leaves. Rhubarb leaves contain high levels of oxalic acid which can prove dangerous to your health, causing serious kidney damage. Rhubarb leaves should not be used as fresh greens in your salad or any other dish, but the stalks are healthy and delicious.

Heath Benefits of Rhubarb Stalks

• Rhubarb is a low calorie vegetable. It contains fiber, anti-oxidants, minerals, and vitamins. It also contains no saturated fats or cholesterol.
• The stalks are rich in vitamin B-complex like riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), thiamin, and pantothenic acid.
• The red color stalks carry more vitamin-A than the green varieties. Vitamin A is a powerful natural anti-oxidant essential for healthy eye-sight.
• Rhubarb stalks provide good amounts of vitamin-K. (as do kale and spinach).

Rhubarb Fun Facts

• Ben Franklin is credited with being one of the first people to send rhubarb seeds to the American Colonies.
• The Merriam Webster dictionary states that, though not used much today, the word rhubarb can mean ‘a heated argument dispute.’
• Rhubarb is a great substitute for cranberries because of the bitterness and the high acidity.
• There is a popular 1951 movie called ‘Rhubarb’ about “Rhubarb” the cat, who has been left a baseball franchise by his rich owner.
• John-Fogerty of Creedence-Clearwater-Revival wrote a song called Rhubarb Pie. Who knew?