Rhubarb

The rhubarb is quite unique. Technically, a rhubarb is a vegetable, it looks like a vegetable, but it is considered a fruit by everyone that has tasted it. It got so confusing that it took a New York court in 1947 to legally declare the rhubarb as a fruit.  Without the leaves, rhubarb looks exactly like celery stalks, but only colored pink to red.

  • Kingdom: Plantae
  • Order: Caryophyllales
  • Family: Polygonaceae
  • Genus: Rheum
  • Species: R. rhabarbarum
  • Binomial name: Rheum rhabarbarum

Rhubarb Trivia

  • The rhubarb’s leaves contain a chemical called oxalic acid, which is poisonous.
  • In the 16th century, rhubarb was grown in China for medicinal purposes
  • The redder the rhubarb stalk, the sweeter it will be
  • January 23 is National Rhubarb Pie Day.
  • Some circles call rhubarb “the pie plant.”

Rhubarb Buying Guide

While a lot of people recommend buying the reddest rhubarb you can find, color is not an indication of ripeness or sweetness.  The skin of the stalk should be smooth and shiny without blemishes. If the leaves are still attached, look for stalks with small leaves, this indicates that the rhubarb was still reasonably young when harvested.

Avoid rhubarb stalks that have split ends or are limp.

Rhubarb Production & Farming in Texas

In the Pacific Northwest, rhubarbs are considered to be perennial plants. But to successfully grow them in Texas, they should be considered as annual plants with replanting needed every year due to Texas’ weather.

Texas A&M suggests discarding rhubarb roots to make room for summer vegetables and just replant them when the weather is back to the cool winter weather. This makes it too expensive for commercial rhubarb growing to be feasible in the state, but nonetheless, there are a lot of small organic farms producing rhubarb this way to meet the demand for local organic rhubarbs.

Another thing that makes rhubarb growing attractive for a lot of home growers is that the Texas rhubarb growing window coincides with the strawberry season, which is fortuitous because rhubarb is famous for use with strawberries in the iconic “Strawberry Rhubarb Pie.”

Pesticides:

The unique thing about rhubarb is that it naturally contains significant amounts of oxalic acid in its leaves. This acts as a natural pesticide, and the PAN Pesticide Database shows that pesticides aren’t used much on rhubarb.

Geography:

Rhubarbs thrive in well-drained, fertile soil with access to full sunlight. Since it is treated as an annual plant in Texas, start the seeds indoors during mid-August when the temperature starts to go down. Once they have grown to three or four inches in height, they can be transferred to the garden. Don’t worry about them freezing outside as rhubarbs can laugh off Texas winters.

Packaging:

After harvesting, any rhubarb that doesn’t meet visual standards are usually sent off to another facility to be used in canning. Rhubarbs that meet customer specifications are bundled up, usually with paper or plastic tape, depending on the specification then sent off in boxes to their final destinations. They are also packed in thin plastic, just like you would find on commercial celery stalk packing.

Eating Rhubarbs

Rhubarb is almost never eaten raw because of its almost unbearable tart taste. Please DO NOT EAT the leaves as they can be poisonous due to the high levels of oxalic acid.

Storage:

Remove the leaves of the rhubarb immediately after purchase and dispose of them properly. To store rhubarb, cover them with a damp cloth or paper towel and store inside the fridge for up to four weeks.

Rhubarb can also be frozen to extend their storage life for up to a year.

Tip: If you have strawberries, you can freeze them along with the Rhubarbs so that the next time you’re in the mood for Strawberry Rhubarb Pie, you can just take the whole bag out and you’ll have your filling in no time.

Cooking:

If there’s one thing that rhubarb is known for, it’s pie. Rhubarbs have a tart and tangy taste, and this is one of the reasons why rhubarb is best paired with sweet fruits for making pie. Take for example the world-famous strawberry rhubarb pie, the tartness of the rhubarb goes perfectly with the sweet and tangy profile of the strawberry that makes this pie a mainstay in any southern table.

Aside from pies, rhubarb can make for excellent sauces and glazes due to its tart and sour flavor profile. Rhubarbs can also be stewed and poached and be used as toppings for other sweet dishes.

Nutrition:

  • Carbs
    • Rhubarbs are pretty low in sugar, with only around 1.3 grams of sugar for every 100g.
      • While the sugar level of rhubarbs is low, it is usually offset by the amount of sugar used in cooking preparations to make the rhubarb more palatable.
    • Fiber
      • Rhubarbs are high in fiber, which helps maintain a healthy digestive system.
        • One hundred grams of rhubarbs provide 10% of the RDI for fiber. Combine this with the low carb nature of the plant, and you’ve got yourself a winner.
      • Vitamins and minerals:
        • Rhubarbs are an excellent source of vitamin K, with each serving providing 45% of the RDI.
          • Vitamin K helps with overall bone health and wound healing. Vitamin K helps our bodies produce a third of the proteins needed for blood to clot properly.
        • Rhubarb also contains at least 10% of the RDI for potassium, calcium, and manganese
          • Potassium is needed for proper electrolyte balance.
          • Calcium is needed for stronger bones
          • Manganese works with calcium and vitamin K for better overall bone health.

When Are Rhubarb in Season in Texas?

One of the most salient benefits to eating seasonally is that you are effectively reducing your carbon footprint and supporting a more geographically sustainable food economy. We are rarely encouraged to think about the physical lengths our food travels before arriving on the market shelves. And all of this travel comes with a hefty environmental cost that is concealed from the consumer’s eye. Check other fruit and veg that’s in season in Texas.

Nutrition

DV%

  • Serving Size: 1 Serving
  • Calories: 21 1%
  • Carbs: 4.5g 2%
  • Sugar: 1.1g 0
  • Fiber: 1.8g 7%
  • Protein: 0.9g 2%
  • Fat: 0.2g 0%
  • Saturated Fat: 0.1g 0%
  • Trans Fat 0g 0%
  • Cholesterol 0mg 0%
  • Sodium 4mg 0%
  • Vitamin C 8mg 13%
  • Vitamin A 102IU 2%
  • Calcium 86mg 9%
  • Iron 0.2mg 1%
  • Potassium 288mg 8%
  • Vitamin K 29.3mcg 37%
  • Vitamin E 0.3mg 1%
  • Vitamin B6 0mg 1%
  • Folate 7mcg 2%
  • Magnesium 12mg 3%
  • Phosphorus 14mg 1%
  • Zinc 0.1mg 1%

Seasonality

When are apples in season in Texas?

  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec

Buy farmfresh Rhubarb from local family farms and ranches in texas

Check availability in your area

No delivery available
Free pickup available