Whether in a crumble, cake, as a jam, compote or on its own with ice cream, rhubarb is unmistakable. In season from early spring until late summer, it remains popular with all generations. Is this sharp-tasting fruity plant, that’s mainly used in sweet dishes, really a fruit though? Or is it, in fact, a vegetable?
Is rhubarb a fruit or a vegetable?
Traditionally, rhubarb is known as a very hardy and versatile plant that, like asparagus, can be harvested until around Midsummer’s Day (24 June). The rest period after harvesting is important to ensure a rich harvest the following year. Yet, despite being mainly used in the creation of sweet dishes, rhubarb is a member of the Polygonaceae family and is, therefore, somewhat surprisingly, a vegetable. It’s important to be aware that only the red rhubarb stems can be used; the leaves are poisonous and should be completely removed; if eaten, they can cause severe circulatory problems, amongst other things.
How to store fresh rhubarb
To keep rhubarb for as long as possible make sure you buy it fresh. If the ends of the stems are still moist, and not dried out, you can assume that the rhubarb has been recently picked. When freshly harvested and stored properly, rhubarb will remain crisp and good to eat for about a week. To store rhubarb in a refrigerator, wrap the stems in a damp cloth and then place them in the fruit and vegetables drawer. Those with a Liebherr BioFresh compartment will be pleased to hear they can keep this healthy, low-calorie vegetable fresh for even longer than this – with BioFresh it’ll stay good for almost two weeks!
Although Liebherr BioFresh technology allows you to store rhubarb for a good length of time, freezing also has advantages. To use rhubarb for a cake at a later date, freeze the stems in closely packed layers in freezer tubs without adding any sugar.
Our tip: if you want to bake a cake with frozen rhubarb simply place it directly into the cake mixture straight from the freezer and bake it right away. This not only saves time but also stops the rhubarb from releasing as much juice. Of course, the frozen stalks can also be used to make rhubarb compote, prepared by gently simmering it on a low heat, with a little water added.
Cake in a glass recipe
If you love rhubarb you’ll almost certainly love our Cake in a glass recipe – there’s a step-by-step guide to follow and full ingredients list. Give it a go and let us know how you get on!
Do you have a favourite rhubarb recipe? Did you know it is actually a vegetable? Reach out to us on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram!