Rhubarb is in season right now and anyone that has a plant or two knows that rhubarb can be quite prolific under the right conditions! Even if you don't happen to have a plant it seems like you can still end up with quite a bit of rhubarb from friends, family, and neighbors that have been bountifully blessed.
If you have a rhubarb plant and haven't grown it before you might be wondering how you go about harvesting rhubarb. Here are some tips...
Harvest season for rhubarb is late spring through early summer. Rhubarb plants will keep growing after that but they tend to get bitter in the heat, even if you keep them watered. It's best to just harvest what you can, while you can and then leave the plant be until next year.
Don't harvest rhubarb in it's first year. Rhubarb plants need 2 years to be fully developed. If you leave them be the first year they will have a better chance at growing a strong root system and then they will be ready to produce for you for years to come.
Rhubarb stalks are ready to be harvested when they are firm an no longer bendy. Bendy rhubarb will be too stringy and tough to cut through and eat. Don't let your rhubarb get too large either or it will get bitter. Your best bet is to check your rhubarb plants for harvest each day or every other day in the least.
When you pull the rhubarb from the plant, twist the bottom so the stalk pulls cleanly out from the ground. Don't cut the stalks or it will cause growth issues for the remainder of the plant. Brush the dirt from the stalks you pull.
Cut the leaves off the stalks. They are poisonous and can't be eaten by humans or animals. However the leaves make an excellent addition to your compost pile! When you harvest the rhubarb make sure to never pull more than 30% of the plant at a time or it's roots will become unstable for future harvests.
Rhubarb stores well in the fridge, or you can chop it up and freeze it to be able to enjoy all year long! Now it's time to get some inspiration on how to use up all that rhubarb! Here's a great recipe to try for Rhubarb Smoothies!
What You Need:
- 1 1/2 cups Rhubarb, frozen or fresh (about 1 stalk, washed/cut up)
- 1 1/2 cups Strawberries, frozen or fresh
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons Honey
- 1 1/2 cups Milk
- 2/3 cup Pomegranate Juice
- 1 cup Ice (optional)
Using a blender, add your fruit to the bottom, ice and then top it off with your honey, milk, and pomeganate juice. Mix well until all ingredients are smooth. Makes 2 servings.
These smoothies are a great way to really enjoy the fresh taste of early summer since rhubarb has such a short harvesting season!
How long have you been harvesting rhubarb? What's your favorite rhubarb recipe?
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