Stalks of rhubarbI’ll start by saying that I know rhubarb is, botanically, a vegetable.  I store all my rhubarb info under “Fruit” because this is a website about cooking, not botany.

Anyways: hearty, prolific, ubiquitous rhubarb.  As with apples, our parents and grandparents have already done the work for us: for the last several decades they have been planting rhubarb patches throughout the city, in backyards, parks, and alleyways.  Now it is our responsibility to harvest and consume the bounty.

There are countless named varieties of rhubarb, all with their own flavour and acidity.  Some are more green, others more red.  I use the red varieties for stewed rhubarb and confections like pies and tarts.  The greener varieties I reserve for rhubarb relish and rhubarb onion jam.  Even if rhubarb has only a couple inches of red at the bottom, it will still make pretty, pink rhubarb water and iced tea.

The rhubarb in my backyard starts leafing out in early May, and a good harvest is feasible by the last week of May.  With diligent plucking of stalks, which prevents bolting, the rhubarb season can be extended well into July.

To me the only downside of rhubarb is that it generally requires a good deal of sugar to consume.

Everyone is familiar with rhubarb pie and crumble.  A man can only eat so much rhubarb crumble, and most folks don’t know what to do with rhubarb beyond these rustic standbys.  Below are some ideas.  Once you start exploring the various ways to drink rhubarb (see below) you’ll really be blasting through the stalks.

How to Eat Rhubarb

How to Drink Rhubarb

The personal website of Edmonton chef Allan Suddaby