Rhubarb is a vegetable that acts like a fruit, but no matter how you serve it, it’s always a treat. It’s available year around in the freezer section, but it’s best in the spring when it’s one of the first veggies of the season. As pretty as it looks and as easy as it is to use, you need to be careful when working with the fresh stuff because its leaves are toxic. Eating the leaves can make you really sick because they contain oxalate. It also contains a lot of acid, so you need to use a nonaluminum pan when cooking it so it doesn’t react to the acid. So, after you get rid of the leaves, wrap the fresh rhubarb in plastic wrap or put it into a plastic baggie, then store it in the coldest part of the refrigerator. When you’re ready to use it, wash it well and trim the tips and base. You can peel it (it is stringy like celery) or cut it just as it is.
Rhubarb is weird: great-tasting stalks, poisonous leaves and lots of acid. Still, it tastes wonderful and it’s worth the effort.
The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.