Rhubarb contains nine percent of the daily recommended amount of calcium in a 3.5-ounce serving and 5g of fiber. It is also high in vitamin K, essential for strong bones, vitamin C, iron, and manganese. Unfortunately, its health benefits are sometimes outweighed by the amount of sugar often used to sweeten this tart and sometimes bitter vegetable; however, it is still a favorite among many.
Look for stalks that are plump, crisp, and firm. Green stalks are older and milder, while red stalks are generally younger, having an increased flavor ideal for cooking. Check that the leaves are bright green and perky if still attached. Some grocers will remove the leaves because you can't eat them.
Store fresh rhubarb in plastic wrap in the refrigerator. Don't wash it until you're ready to use it. Rhubarb will keep for up to a week if you store it carefully. You can also freeze rhubarb by washing, then cutting it into 1-inch pieces. Next, place it in an airtight freezer bag and freeze for up to 12 months.
Remove and discard all of the leaves, then rinse with cold water and pat dry. Cut the tough ends off the bottom and remove any dried/damaged parts on the skin with a paring knife or vegetable peeler. You can cut them into 1-inch pieces and add them (about 6 cups) to a pot with about 1 cup of water and 1/4 cup of sugar. Or follow your favorite recipe for baking a pie, cake, crisp, et cetera.
Did you know?
The rhubarb roots of some species were used in medicine long before they were introduced as food. Although rhubarb is a vegetable, it's most often cooked similarly to a fruit. The stalks can vary from crimson red to speckled light pink to light green in color. The leaves contain high levels of oxalic acid, making them inedible.
Read about the amazing health benefits of Spinach.