Rhubarb is a vegetable that wants to be a fruit - it's very tart and slightly sweet, and only available during it's short season.
When is rhubarb in season?
Rhubarb season starts in April and lasts through July. It can be grown throughout most of the US so there's a chance you find it at a farmers market. See what else is in season at the same time: April, May, June, and July.
How to buy & store
To buy: For the best rhubarb, look for crisp stalks with ends that aren't dried out.
Cut off leaves if they are attached (the leaves are poisonous). Wrap tightly in plastic or a sealed bag to keep the moisture locked in and place in the fridge. It should last 1-2 weeks.
Should I buy organic?
To be safe, sure. However, there is no testing data published by the EPA on rhubarb, so the actual pesticide levels are unknown.
Are red rhubarb sweeter?
This is debated and I see answers on all sides. However there are so many varieties of rhubarb and the variety has a big effect on flavor. I've tested this myself, and am unable to give a definitive answer since so many other variables are in play (soil, climate, etc).
Is rhubarb poisonous?
The stalks are totally edible and most places sell only the stalks. However, the leaves are poisonous, so make sure to cut them off if they are still attached. The leaves can cause difficulty in breathing, and a lot of other problems that the OSU extension office mentions.
How to use rhubarb
That's a good question! Rhubarb are very tart and that needs to be considered when using it. One good example is to think of what might taste good with a tart apple and then use rhubarb instead (because apples aren't in season when rhubarb is). A salad with granny smith apples? Try it with shaved rhubarb.
Another option is to roast rhubarb with honey, adding sweetness to balance out that tartness. You also see a lot of desserts with rhubarb because it adds an interesting flavor and balance to sweet things.
Each recipe below only uses ingredients that are in season at the same time as rhubarb, or ingredients that have a year-round season. Since their season overlaps with the beginning or end of other fruits and vegetables, the recipes are grouped into early season, late season, or anytime they are available.
Honey roasted rhubarb power greens salad - recipe from Cotter Crunch
Make this any time rhubarb is in season, as the rest of the ingredients are available year-round.
Mascarpone & rhubarb stuffed french toast - recipe from Sugar Hero
Beetroot rhubarb ice cream - recipe from Kiip Fit
Strawberry rhubarb coffee cake - recipes by Serena Bakes
...Recipes for early summer
Grilled summer vegetable sandwich with rhubarb BBQ sauce - recipe from Edible Perspective
Rhubarb is in season through July, so enjoy this sandwich in summer when summer veggies start showing up.
Like to eat with the seasons?
If you do, check out my produce guides and recipes for fruits & vegetables that are currently in season.
Each month highlights recipes that use produce exclusively in-season (or available year-round at high quality). Each fruit & vegetable also has an in-depth guide that shares tips on how to pick the best ones up from the market, how to store them, and interesting tidbits on prepping or nutrition.