Rhubarb How To ~ Basics

Early 1900's recipes called this "pie plant."

1 - Plants before pulling

Every 5 years in early spring when the plant begins to bud out, a plant can be dug up, separated into 2-4+ plants, & replanted to keep increasing.  Read more on the internet.

2 - Pulled rhubarb

I was always told to pull the stalks out (& only 2 out of every 3 to continue growth), & to never cut them.  In this way there continues to be room for new growth during the 6-month season - April/May into Sept./Oct.

3 - The remaining plants 

The row after pulling, & the leaves are cut off (on the right) on what was pulled.  Will pick about every 2 weeks for the 1st 2-3 months.  Then there are fewer pickings . . . depends on how much grows. 

4 - Good growth & seed

Stalks on the left ~ Seldom do 2 + new growth pull out at once.

Going to seed on the right ~ throw all of this one away.  Never use any!

4 - While washing the rhubarb stalks under running water, set aside any with marks.  Using a paring knife, cut down into the stalk & slide under the mark to cut it out.  Always begin where the marred spot begins and cut toward the end of the stalk.  

5 - All the imperfection areas are cut off the stalks.  You don't need to cut the entire stalk off because then you'll waste precious rhubarb.

6 - Using a clean, lint-free towel, dry the stalks to eliminate excess water.  Pull the ends of the towel into your hand and roll - rub the stalks inside.  

7 -  The 4 center stalks are more than 1/2" wide, so I split them in half lengthwise with a paring knife.  If stalks are real thick, I split in 3-4 - whatever.

8 - On a chopping board & with a sharp butcher knife, I take a handful at a time & cut into 1/2" pieces.  Push the knife down & away from you at the same time.  You don't want to "saw" back & forth.  If you only have a smaller knife, just cut fewer stalks at a time.  But keep the cutting (& pressure) nearest the handle.  It's easier on your hand & arm.   

9 - If the cut doesn't clear through the full skin when the flat side of the stalk is on the bottom, just go on to the next cut & in a few cuts it should cut through,  If not, turn the stalk over & cut down.  Don't worry about having the thin skins/peels not on pieces of rhubarb.  It will all bake just fine.  Besides, you want to keep as much red as possible for the pretty, bubbly color!