Rhubarb is a cool season crop recognized by its large green leaves and red stalks. The leaves should not be used for food, as they are poisonous. Before using rhubarb in recipes, remove all leaf tissue and use only the stalks. The stalks are similar to celery with a strong sour or tart flavor.
Although rhubarb is a vegetable, it is classified as a fruit due to its use in pies, jams, and liquors.
Types & Varieties
Rhubarb is generally available in three types: red, speckled (pink), or green. Of the red type, there are several Crimson varieties including Crimson Cherry, Crimson Red, and Crimson Wine. These varieties produce stalks of bright red.
In addition to the Crimsons, there are also Valentine, Canada Red, and Cherry Red. Cherry Red is distinguished by its deep red color and long, thick stalks. Most red varieties are more tender than others.
Speckled or pink varieties include Victoria which produces large, long, round stalks. The pink speckling is more pronounced at the bottom of the stalk while the tops are light green.
Similar to Victoria, German Wine is more vigorous with darker pink speckling. Riverside Giant is a green variety that produces long, large, green stalks.