With its bright green leaves and ruby red stalks, rhubarb is springtime in plant form. As tasty as those leaves look they are not safe for consumption. Rhubarb leaves contain oxalic acid which can irritate the mouth and can be fatal.1 If you are growing rhubarb, be careful if you have pets.
Technically a vegetable, rhubarb is a source of potassium, vitamin C and calcium. Potassium is important for heart health, and Vitamin C is actually an antioxidant.
When shopping for rhubarb at the store or market, select rhubarb with crisp, firm stalks – since that is the only edible portion of the plant. Rhubarb grown outside will come in various hues, while greenhouse rhubarb may have smaller leaves and pink stalks.
Store rhubarb in the fridge. Rhubarb can be safely stored in the freezer after it has been cleaned and boiled in water for two minutes.1
Often paired with fruit for sweet dishes, rhubarb can be used in more savoury recipes like salsas, salads or in chutney like this recipe. Although on the sweeter side, this chutney pairs well with pork tenderloin or roasted chicken for a spring supper.
Recipe: Rhubarb Chutney
- 3 cups (750 mL) chopped rhubarb
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup (50 mL) water
- 1 apple (any variety), peeled and chopped
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) raisins
- 1 tbsp (15 mL) minced gingerroot
- 1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
- 1/2 tsp (2 mL) ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp (1 mL) ground cloves
- In medium saucepan, combine rhubarb, sugar, water, apple, raisins and gingerroot.
- Cook, covered, on medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes or until thickened and fruit has softened.
- Stir in salt, cinnamon and cloves.
By Rachel Morgan, RD, MPH
 EatRight Ontario. All about rhubarb. Available at: https://www.eatrightontario.ca/en/Articles/Cooking-Food-Preparation/Ruby-Rhubarb.aspx