Ready for rhubarb season?

April 16, 2002 in In Season & Other Fresh Foods

Ready for rhubarb season?

Rhubarb's nickname is the "pie plant" because that's what you'll want to do with it -- even though it's actually classified as a vegetable.

Try partnering rhubarb with strawberries or raspberries for a special treat. But with its tart flavor and crisp texture, rhubarb is comfortable in either a sweet or savory situation. It is the crown jewel in a custard pie but is equally spectacular embellishing salmon, pheasant, chicken or delicate white fish.

Choosing good rhubarb is straightforward. Look for firm and brightly colored stalks and check the ends to make sure they are clean and look freshly cut. If the rhubarb is not sealed in plastic, pick up a stalk and wave it around to see if it is limp, or desirably firm. Withered and brown ends signal the rhubarb has been around too long. Pink stalks are usually hothouse grown and the deep red ones are field grown.

The best thing to do however, is to grow your own. Once a rhubarb patch is established, it should thrive for years, so when the harvest arrives there will be a spring version of the zucchini glut. What could be better? Just be sure to discard the leaves, as they're poisonous.

Click here for more information about rhubarb - and recipes too.

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