How to Buy and Store Rhubarb

This tart, tangy spring veggie is good for so much more than pie.

Rhubarb stems

Shop and Store

Look for bright, firm stalks without blemishes. Store rhubarb unwashed in a zip-top bag in the refrigerator for up to a week. To freeze for longer-term storage, wash and dice the stalks, then spread them on a baking sheet and place in the freezer. Once frozen, transfer the pieces to a freezer container.

Take Your Pick

Two varieties of rhubarb are typically available at your local grocer: field-grown rhubarb with thin red stalks and hothouse rhubarb with less-acidic pink or light-red stalks. Both types deliver vitamin C, vitamin K, and health-promoting minerals like potassium and manganese.

Prep and Cook

Roasting, stewing, or sautéing the stalks will mellow their tart flavor. Be sure to use a nonreactive pan, such as enameled cast iron, stainless steel, or glass, since rhubarb’s acidity can discolor aluminum, iron, or copper. And discard the inedible toxic leaves; they contain high concentrations of oxalic acid and can make you sick.

Change It Up

Often paired with strawberries to complement the fruit’s sweetness, rhubarb can also add a satisfying acidic note to savory dishes. Add a cup of diced rhubarb into your next stew or curry, or include pickled stalks in salads or sandwiches.

To pickle, trim the stalks and place them upright in a clean, dry canning jar. Combine 1 cup water, ½ cup white vinegar, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 tablespoon sugar in a medium saucepan, and boil until the salt and sugar dissolve. Pour the brine over the vegetables to cover, then let cool. Secure the lid and refrigerate for up to a month.

This originally appeared as “Rhubarb” in the June 2020 print issue of Experience Life.

is an Experience Life senior editor.

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