Rhubarb: Is it a Fruit or a Vegetable?bianca
Rhubarb, with its reddish stalks and sour taste, is one of the tell-tale signs of spring. However, it is often mistaken for fruit. Why? It is regularly sugared during preparation and associated with sweet culinary dishes such as sweet soups, jams, drinks, sauces, pies, and tarts. To add to the confusion, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) classified it as a fruit in 1947 since import tariffs on fruits were cheaper than those on vegetables.
Western Rhubarb varieties can be traced back to China, but the first documented use in western culture was 2100 years ago when it was utilized in Greek and Roman medicines. For centuries it was used only for medicinal purposes. Since then, rhubarb has come full circle from medicinal to dessert delicacy.
If you’re interested in adding a little more rhubarb to your restaurant menu, here is what you need to know about this versatile produce.
Is rhubarb a fruit or a vegetable?
Rhubarb is technically a vegetable. It is a member of the Polygonaceae family, which are flowering plants that are commonly referred to as buckwheat in the United States. Rhubarb stalks are edible and have a consistency comparable to celery. Because of the high concentration of oxalic acid (which is present in many vegetables but at non-toxic levels), their leaves are hazardous when taken in large amounts.
What does rhubarb taste like?
The edible part of this vegetable is its vibrant reddish stalk, which has a sour taste similar to that of a lemon. It is the most sour-tasting vegetable out there. As a result, it is typically cooked with a lot of sugar making it pleasantly tart with a hint of vegetal celery flavor.
When is rhubarb in season?
Rhubarb is a spring vegetable that appears around the same time as strawberries. They are at their peak from late March to early April and remain until early June.
How do you use rhubarbs?
Rhubarb can be served in various ways. Serving strawberry-rhubarb pie is the most common option, since both ingredients are in abundance at the same time. Strawberry also balances the sourness of rhubarbs.
Here are other brilliant ways to incorporate rhubarb in your restaurant:
- Rhubarb upside-down cake. A rustic cake with a hint of herbaceousness.
- Rhubarb and coconut ripples. For a taste and feel of the Caribbean. Perfect for the coming summer months.
- Confit duck with sweet and sour rhubarb. The tart rhubarb cuts through the richness of the duck confit.
- Rose and rhubarb loaf cake. There’s nothing more romantic and exceptional than having roses and rhubarbs together!
- Rhubarb Relish. This mildly spicy relish goes well with roasted or grilled meats, as well as a cheese plate.
- Rhubarb-basil shrub cocktail. An elegant cocktail with sweet and earthy notes.
Where can you buy rhubarbs wholesale?
Rhubarbs can be found in any store’s fresh produce section, but buying from local farms like Riviera Produce is the best way to get the finest flavor and nutrition. Rhubarb is now one of our peak season produce, sourced directly from Holland and Washington. It’s a multipurpose vegetable that’s also one of the best of the season!