Mama's little baby loves rhubarb, rhubarb... Beebopareebop Rhubarb Pie.
—Garrison Keillor, A Prairie Home Companion
Tart and tangy rhubarb has flourished in America for two centuries, although it is native to Asia where as early as 2700 B.C. it was used medicinally. Rhubarb thrives in cool weather and it’s one of the first plants to mature each year. Prime time for rhubarb is April through September.
Low in calories and full of fiber, potassium and vitamin C, rhubarb also contains catechin, a flavonol that may contribute to heart health.
The two most commonly found varieties of rhubarb are Victoria, characterized by a green stalk with red shading, and Cherry, as red as the name suggests. One might assume that the red stalks are sweeter, but some of the greener varieties actually have higher sugar contents.
Look for bright, crisp stalks with minimal pitting, dryness and other visible damage.
Rhubarb, like other leafy green plants, is highly perishable and susceptible to water loss, so extended storage is unfortunately not possible. Keep it under refrigeration for a week or two if you want to use it fresh, or freeze it if you want to have the summer taste all through the year.
You can freeze rhubarb raw, or blanch the stalks in boiling water for 1 minute and chill thoroughly before packing and freezing.
Freeze in a plastic freezer bag or airtight container, leaving an inch of empty space at the top of the container.