Rhubarb … More Than You Ever Need to Know

Silverbelle Sandy was chopping rhubarb this morning, in preparation for freezing so that we can enjoy a tart taste of springtime when we are in the depths of another Vermont winter. To freeze: wash stalks, dry thoroughly, cut into 1/4″ chunks, spread onto a cookie sheet to freeze individual pieces, store in appropriate container. As I excused myself to go off to the salt mine known as The Jungle, she said “you should do something on rhubarb.” And since her wish is my command, here’s everything you need to know about rhubarb.

Rhubarb is a vegetable that is native to Asia and Europe. It has been cultivated for centuries, and was first used as a medicinal plant. The leaves of rhubarb are poisonous, so only the stalks should be eaten.

The first recorded use of rhubarb as a food was in China in 2700 BC. It was used to make a laxative, and was also used to treat a variety of other ailments. Rhubarb was introduced to Europe in the 1st century AD, and it quickly became popular as a medicinal plant. It was also used to make jams, jellies, and pies.

In the 18th century, rhubarb began to be grown in North America. It quickly became popular, and it is now one of the most popular vegetables in the United States. Rhubarb is typically harvested in the spring and early summer, and it is used to make a variety of desserts, such as pies, crumbles, and tarts. It can also be used in savory dishes, such as stir-fries and stews.

Rhubarb is a good source of fiber and vitamin C. It also contains small amounts of other vitamins and minerals.

Nicknamed “the pie plant,” Rhubarb is most commonly used in pies, crumbles, and other desserts. It can also be used in savory dishes, such as stir-fries and stews. It’s easy to grow and prefers cool, moist conditions. It is a symbol of spring and in some cultures is used as an Easter decoration.

Here are some famous quotes about rhubarb:

  • “Never rub another man’s rhubarb.” – Jack Nicholson as The Joker in the 1989 film Batman
  • “A square egg in a dish of lentils won’t make a marrow bend with the wind, nor will it make rhubarb grow up the milkmaid’s leg.” – Les Dawson, English comedian
  • “I want a dish to taste good, rather than to have been seethed in pig’s milk and served wrapped in a rhubarb leaf with grated thistle root.” – Kingsley Amis, English writer [I guess Kingsley didn’t get the memo on rhubarb leaves being poisonous. SB SM]

Perhaps the best known rhubarb fetishist is Garrison Keillor. Here he is singing about rhubarb pie with Meryl Streep:

Here are some additional facts about rhubarb:

  • The word “rhubarb” comes from the Latin word “rheum,” which means “red.”
  • Rhubarb was first cultivated in China in the 3rd century BC.
  • Rhubarb was introduced to Europe in the 1st century AD by the Romans.
  • Rhubarb was introduced to North America in the 17th century by the British.
  • Rhubarb is a member of the buckwheat family.
  • Rhubarb is a good source of fiber and vitamin C.

Here is an unusual rhubarb recipe:

Rhubarb and Pistachio Salad


  • 1 pound rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup chopped pistachios
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped mint


  1. In a large bowl, combine the rhubarb, sugar, and balsamic vinegar.
  2. Toss to coat.
  3. Let stand for 30 minutes, or until the rhubarb is tender.
  4. Stir in the pistachios, feta cheese, and mint.
  5. Serve immediately.

This salad is a refreshing and flavorful change from the traditional sweet rhubarb recipes. The tartness of the rhubarb is balanced by the sweetness of the sugar and the balsamic vinegar, and the pistachios and feta cheese add a nice salty and nutty flavor. The mint adds a touch of freshness and brightness.

This salad is perfect for a spring or summer picnic or potluck. It is also a great side dish for grilled chicken or fish.

And finally, because it’s almost summer, the ultimate rhubarb question … can you grill it? [Please note, the makers of this video can’t even spell “rhubarb.” SB SM]

4 thoughts on “Rhubarb … More Than You Ever Need to Know

  1. we ate it raw all the time as kids. All the nirghborhood farms grew it in their manure piles so it was somewtime tricky to get to and we wiped it off on our shirts.

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