Everyone’s heard of rhubarb, and most have tasted it in one format or another – whether in a cake, compote or jam. Rhubarb is in season from early spring until late summer. Nowadays though, it’s not only grandma who likes it for her Sunday cake recipe; the younger generation has also discovered the joys of rhubarb. But is this sharp-tasting fruity plant, that’s mainly used in sweet dishes, really a fruit? Is it, in fact, a vegetable? Let’s clear things up!
Traditionally, rhubarb is known as a very hardy and versatile plant that, like asparagus, can harvested until around Midsummer 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 as, if eaten, they can cause severe circulatory problems, amongst other things.
How to refrigerate rhubarb
To start with, 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 vegetable drawer. Those with a Liebherr BioFresh compartment will be pleased to hear they can keep this healthy, low-calorie vegetable fresh for longer than this – with BioFresh it’ll stay good for almost two weeks!
Although Liebherr BioFresh technology enables customers to store rhubarb for a reasonable length of time, freezing also has advantages. To use the 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 your frozen rhubarb, simply place the frozen rhubarb directly into the cake mixture and bake straight 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.
Now there’s only one thing left to say… Bon appétit!