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!