Thursday, May 28, 2020

Rhubarb - Try it for your 2020 Victory Garden by Vicky Spelman

Photo Courtesy: sungress
Rhubarb Love it for its Taste; Eat it for Your Health.

A welcoming sign of spring is the emergence of rhubarb stalks out of the cool wet soil in the warm spring temperatures. It is at its peak of freshness during May and June but rhubarb can still be harvested in the later part of summer.

Rhubarb is a valued garden vegetable - can be eaten as a fruit - and is sought out by those who enjoy the tart taste. Harvesting rhubarb by pulling the stalks in a downward motion and to one side, snapping the stalk from the ground. When harvesting remove less than 1/3 of the stalks from the mature plant.

Harvest on plants that are at least two years old, which will make for a more mature plant that produces larger stalks and will have faster regrowth for future harvesting. Select stalks for their color - either bright pink or deep red color, and insect damage free. The brighter or darker stalks will have more sweetness. Rhubarb leaves are poisonous and should never be eaten - the leaves may be discarded for composting.

Rhubarb is versatile and can be used fresh and consumed either raw or cooked. In addition, it can be frozen raw, or cooked. It is excellent for canning and can be processed as a high acidified food that requires a boiling water bath.

It is also a rich source of nutrients providing 45% of the Daily Value for Vitamin K in a serving size of 1 cup.  Also contains Vitamin C and A, along with Folate, Riboflavin, and Niacin.  

Divide in late winter or early spring when the soil is dry enough to work, but before the crown sends up the stalks.  Should only need dividing every 5-15 years.  

Enjoy some rhubarb!

Article: Penn State Extension via Extension Master Gardener. Rhubarb