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The one spring vegetable you’re not cooking, but should

By Brierley Wright, M.S., R.D., May 9, 2011 - 11:40am

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When it comes to produce, there’s an oft-overlooked but funny-named spring favorite—usually matched with fruit in sweets even though it’s actually a vegetable—that you shouldn’t miss. What is it? Drumroll, please...


Rhubarb was love at first bite for me. The first time I baked a strawberry-and-rhubarb dessert it was for the plump, sweet strawberries. But when I took a bite I was unexpectedly smitten with the intensely tart and tender rhubarb—so much so that I forgot about the strawberries.

Recipes to Try:
Get the Strawberry-and-Rhubarb Dessert I Made Here, plus More Delicious, Healthy Spring Dessert Recipes

Now, when rhubarb is in season (from April to September), I fanatically stockpile pounds of the crimson celery-like stalks in my freezer. I usually track it down at the farmers’ market. But if you’re lucky, like my mother-in-law, you may find it growing in your backyard. (If you pick your own, don’t eat the leafy greens on top—they’re toxic.)

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Rhubarb stalker aside, the nutritionist in me can’t help but love rhubarb’s nutrition boons, too: its red-pink color comes from anthocyanins, antioxidants believed to keep your heart healthy and brain sharp. A cup of fresh, chopped rhubarb delivers healthy doses of vitamin C, potassium and bone-healthy vitamin K, for just 26 calories.

Related: Can Vitamin C Save Your Skin?

This year I’m going to diversify beyond desserts. I'll add rhubarb to my breakfast like in the subtly sweet Oatmeal-Rhubarb Porridge. For lunch or dinner I'll make Roasted Rhubarb Salad, where lightly sweetened rhubarb brightens up leafy greens. Be careful trying these recipes: you, too, may catch the rhubarb fevah!

Recipes to Try: Find the recipes for Oatmeal-Rhubarb Porridge, Roasted Rhubarb Porridge and more here.

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TAGS: Brierley Wright, M.S., R.D., Food Blog, Breakfast, Dessert, Dinner, Lunch, What's in season

Brierley Wright, M.S., R.D.
Brierley holds a master’s degree in Nutrition Communication from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University.

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