What’s in Season: Rhubarb

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What’s in Season: Rhubarb

By The Paula Deen Test Kitchen

You’ve all seen rhubarb sitting there this time of year in the produce section with its raspberry red colored stalks. But do you ever purchase a bunch? If you’re like most people, aside from an occasional strawberry rhubarb pie you’ve never really given rhubarb a chance. Here, in the Paula Deen test kitchen we are all raving about rhubarb and armed with a little knowledge and four new recipes, we hope to have you reaching for rhubarb on your next grocery visit!

History:
The earliest records of the rhubarb plant are from China and date back as far as 2700 BC. At the time, it was cultivated for it’s medicinal purposes (as a purgative for cleansing the bowels). Marco Polo learned of the rhubarb rhizome on his travels in China and was instrumental in bringing it to Europe. The first records of rhubarb in America were around 1790 from an unnamed gardener in Maine who obtained the root stock from Europe. It was then introduced to growers in Massachusetts and it’s popularity spread so much that by 1822 it was sold in produce markets throughout the region. Although considered a vegetable, a New York court decided in 1947 that since rhubarb was used in the United States as a fruit, it would be counted as a fruit for the purposes of regulations and tax duties paid.

Selecting:
Choose fresh crisp stalks with no browning at the ends from the spring or late fall crop. The color of the stalks can vary from the commonly associated raspberry red to speckled pink and light green.

Storing:
Rinse stalks in cold water and peel off any stringy bits. Cut all leaves and roots away and wrap in moist paper towels and place in a 2 gallon zip top bag. The clean stalks can be stored (in the refrigerator) for 2-3 weeks. Before use, trim the ends again and stand the stalks in cold water to crisp and refresh them.

Freezing:
Wash and trim stalks. Cut into 1” lengths. Add to boiling water for 1 minute and then immediately shock in a large bowl of ice water. Remove from ice bath and dry with allow to dry before placing in a zip top bag and freezing. This process will help retain the vibrant color and flavor.

Yield:
A 1 pound bunch contains 3-5 stalks and when chopped yields 2 to 4 cups.

Note: Do not eat rhubarb leaves as they are toxic when ingested.

All New Rhubarb Recipes to Rave About:
Rhubarb Refrigerator Pickles
Rhubarb Salad Dressing
Grilled Chicken with Rhubarb Salsa
Strawberry Rhubarb Ginger Crisp

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Leave a Comment

Reader Comments:

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By sandra bradley on May 31, 2011

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Do you have a recipe for rhubarb & strawberr jam or jelly? Thanks,

By Alfred Lester on May 27, 2011

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I have found so much help in Paula reci+pes when I need something special but I was dispointed this time when I want a Rhubard desert and there was none. I would think she would have several in course of cooking. I would love to see some kind of bar or crisp with Paula twist on it. On the web they are all just alike.

By Pat Huls on May 24, 2011

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Of course me and all the women of my family just love, and I mean love Paula Dean! I wanted to ask Paula if she ever heard of putting Rhubarb in an apple pie? I love the tart apples for a pie and I think that Rhubarb might just enhance that. Thank You, Sondra Jones

By Sondra Jones on May 20, 2011

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How very true, that rhubarb needs to be given a chance. Most people I find think that rhubarb is meant only for pie, and that the taste is terrible no matter what is added or what it is paired with.

By Jane on May 14, 2011

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Hi Cathy, Here is the recipe you're looking for: http://www.pauladeen.com/recipes/recipe_view/pumpkin_roll_cake/

By Jonathan Able on May 11, 2011

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Rhubarb Pie: 425 degrees 15 min. then 350 degrees 35-40 min. 4 cups chopped rhubarb 1 1/2 cups sugar 2 teaspoons orange peel 3 tablespoons tapioca Mix in a bowl and let set for 30 minutes, make sure to stir again before putting in pie shell,lattice top. Pie Crust: 3 cup flour 1 stick crisco shortening Mix till crumbly, add 1/4 cup cold water, still lightly till forms a ball.

By Brenda Hobbs on May 10, 2011

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I have made a Rhubarb cake off and on since I was a teenager. It has diced rhubarb and buttermilk in the cake and a nice brown sugar cinnamon topping. When I make it it disappears fast!

By Marilyn on May 10, 2011

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Barb's Rhubarb cobbler / cake: USE GLASS BAKING DISH 9 x 13 4 cups diced rhubarb 1 3/4 cup sugar 1 sm. box strawberry jello 1 yellow cake mix (dry) 2 cups warm water poured over top of dry cake mix in dish 1 stick of butter in pats to cover cake mix Layer as written above. Bake at 350 deg. for 1 hour. DELICIOUS

By Barb Stewart on May 10, 2011

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By loveyou,Paula deen on May 09, 2011

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I make a upside down Strawberry/Rhubarb cake...I make it the same way as pineapple upside down...It's so good every one loves it...

By Jenn on May 09, 2011

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Love The Lady and Sons we visited on our way home from Disney, great food, also love your shows and the boys in your family

By Mary Stiles on May 06, 2011

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Besides me loving you. You have helped Me learn how to cook southern, that we love! ! Would you accept being my friend on here? I would like your recipe for pumpkin roll?

By Cathy Flores on May 05, 2011

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sounds yummy, I like to use Rhubarb in a cake. make a yellow cake mix according to directions. wash, dry and cut in small pieces, bout 2-3 stalks of rhubarb sprinkle in the cake mix, then take a pkg. of strawberry gelatin dry. sprinkle over mix and bake. mmmmm

By Anita Shields on May 04, 2011

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my mother use to make rhubarb upside down cake by cutting the rhubarb into small pieces putting it on the bottom of a greaded 9by13 pan and then putting any kind of cake mix on top it was very good

By phyllis on May 04, 2011

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do you "peel" the rhubarb?? never know what to do with it to prepare it for use, sometimes I peel and sometimes I don't

By cheryl on May 04, 2011

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Paula: My favorite thing to fix this time of year-- Take a VIDALIA ONION, trim it up, cut off top & bottom, salt it, put just a DAB of BUTTER on top. Put it in a container that WINN-DIXIE sells designed for this that is shaped like an onion. MICROWAVE for about a minute. DELICIOUS as a "side" or even as a snack...

By Murray on May 04, 2011

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I love your show...and I love you...hope you stay on tv for along time...need show on network tv...i love food network...but do not get it all over where we travel for hubbys work...

By Julie on May 04, 2011

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paula you are awesome,you sight is awesome also i loveand your family,i wanna come see you i love you,you can call meanytime

By revdrjoan b-gosh from the b-gosh family on April 30, 2011

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This is so good, my husband and I ate the dessert and I immediately made another one for us.

By Kathy on April 27, 2011

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