Growing Rhubarb

Rhubarb is a native of Asia, growing wild ins such places as Mongolia and Siberia.

History - Growing - Harvesting and Storage - Uses and Rhub arb Recipes

Historical Information

Earliest records date back to 2700 BC in China where Rhubarb was cultivated for medicinal purposes (its purgative qualities).

Rhubarb is a native of Asia, growing wild in such places as Mongolia and Siberia.

Edible Rhubarb (Rhheum Rhabarbarum) is a member of the buckwheat family, and is technically a vegetable, but is commonly regarded as a fruit.

Rhubarb History

Rhubarb Botanical Information


Rhubarb is a very durable plant, it can withstand drought, extreme cold weather, will adapt to most soils, and is troubled by few pests. Often the last remnant of an abandoned farm , or yard site is the Rhubarb patch.

Rhubarb is usually grown from root stock, available at most nurseries, or through dividing mature plants.

Rhubarb can be grown from seed, although seed is difficult to find.

Most of the newer varieties are hybrid plants and do not come "true" from the seed they set. Also allowing Rhubarb to flower (and set seed) depletes the energy from the plant, causing the stalks to be tough and bitter.

Plant rhubarb in full sun, add a generous amount of organic matter such as compost to the planting hole and water regularly.

Generally the pink and red varieties do best in colder climates and the green variety where temperatures are higher.

Allow the plants to grown and become established for 2 full seasons before harvesting.

Some varieties available:

Cherry Red - is compact, ideal for small gardens, very sweet deep red stalks.

Victoria and Linnaeus - very old green , or green with pink tint varieties.

Glaskings Peerpetual - one of the few seed varieties available can be harvested the first year of growth.

Both the leaves and the roots of the rhubarb are poisonous. It is the leaf stalks or "petioles" that we eat.The leaves contain calcium oxalate, and antraquinone glycosides which can cause serious illness or even death. A pesticide can be prepared from these leaves and there are many recipes available for that, but use extreme caution when working with them and follow directions that are given very carefully.

Harvesting and Storage

When harvesting, pull the stocks by grasping them by their base. Cutting the stalks results in little stumps which will decay. Harvest only a third of the stalks from any one plant, and stop when the emerging stalks become slender and weak.

.Rhubarb should be washed and stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator .The stalks can be stored for 2-4 weeks at 32­ F.

When freezing rhubarb cut the rhubarb into small pieces, heat in boiling water for 1 minute and cool promptly in cold water , that helps retain color and flavor. Put in freezer bags to be used later .


Rhubarb is a very versatile plant and can be used in a variety of tasty treats such as pies, cakes, muffins, jams, preserves, beverages, breads, salad, soups or wine. It is rich in vitamin A and C.

Rhubarb Recipes

We would like to thank the kind folks at Timeless Treasure Trunk for allowing us to post some recipes from their Rhubarb Recipes Downloadable Cookbook .



Kellogg’s Corn Flakes 2 cups 500 mL

Brown Sugar ½ cup 125 mL

Flour 5 tsp 25 mL

Butter ¼ cup 60 mL

For topping, mix together crushed Corn Flakes, brown sugar and flour. Cut in

butter until mixture forms fine crumbs. Set aside.

Sour Cream 1 cup 250 mL

Flour 1/3 cup 75 mL

Brown Sugar ½ cup 125 mL

Rhubarb sliced 3 cups 750 mL

Unbaked Pie Shell

Mix together sour cream, flour, brown sugar and rhubarb. Pour into pie shell and

sprinkle with crumb mixture.

Bake at 450°F (230° C) for 15 minutes, reduce temperature to 350° F (180°C)

and bake a further 30 to 35 minutes or until rhubarb is cooked and filling

thickens. Cool completely before serving.


Rhubarb (cut in pieces) 4 cups 1 L

Brown Sugar 1 cup 250 mL

Flour 2 cups 250 mL

Salt 1 tsp 5 mL

Baking Powder 4 tsp 20 mL

Sugar 3 tbsp 45 mL

Butter ¼ cup 60 mL

Milk ¾ cup 175 mL

Softened Butter 2 tbsp 30 mL

Whipping Cream Whipped ¾ cup 175 mL

Mix rhubarb with brown sugar.

Let stand 10 minutes until some juice is formed. Cover and bake in a 350°F

(180°C) oven until tender, about 30 minutes. Chill.

Sift dry ingredients. Cut in the ¼ cup (60 mL) butter until mixture resembles

coarse bread crumbs. Add milk and mix quickly to form a soft but not sticky


Turn onto a lightly floured board and knead three or four times. Then roll

out to fit an 8 inch layer cake pan.

Bake in a 450°F (250°C) oven for 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown.

Split shortcake while hot; spread with remaining 2 tbsp ( 30 mL) softened

butter and spread half the chilled rhubarb between the layers. Top with

remaining rhubarb and whipped cream.

Serve Warm.

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Collection of recipes time-honored and tried. Unique recipe book featuring many recipes from the recipe boxes of old. Great selection of recipes for pies, cakes, cobblers, crisps, desserts, beverages, sauces, jams, jellies, muffins, breads, salads, and soup.

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