Spring Produce Spotlight: Rhubarb

March 30, 2012

By Lana Buseman

This season’s produce spotlight is on rhubarb. Rhubarb is technically considered a vegetable but it is widely thought of in the United States as a fruit because it so commonly found in desserts.

Rhubarb

Photo credit: Rhubarb Recipes

Rhubarb gets its red hue from anthocyanins, which are flavonoids that give other kinds of produce like apples, blood oranges, eggplants and acai berries their deep pigments. A high concentration of anthocyanins, which can be found in fruits and vegetables with red, purple and blue hues, can help fight against cancer, diabetes and infection and are an important part of our diets.

Rhubarb is seasonal starting in late April and continuing through May and then again from June to July. Rhubarb is crisp and tart in flavor and can be eaten raw. Just be careful to remove any leaves before consuming because the leaves are not fit for consumption.

Here are some fun ways to use rhubarb!

  • Cut the raw stalks like you would with celery and dip them in honey.
  • Make rhubarb ants on a log! Spread some peanut butter on a raw stalk and top with raisins.
  • Slice a few stalks of rhubarb into ½ inch slices, throw them into a stock pot and cover just slightly with water. Stew the rhubarb until it is soft. Add a pinch of cinnamon, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and some honey or agave. Spoon this mixture over plain Greek yogurt for a sweet treat.
  • Make a fruit salsa with fresh strawberries, melon, pineapple and rhubarb or your other favorite fruit! Serve with toasted pita bread sprinkled with cinnamon.
  • Make a rhubarb spritzer! Muddle stewed rhubarb with some fresh mint, add ice and sparkling water. Substitute lemonade or iced tea for tasty variations!

 Enjoy!