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Rhubarb - Step Away from the Strawberries and Get Your Stalk Out of That Pie Plate!

After last week’s CSA share pick-up we had a serious rhubarb explosion going on in our kitchen! Before berries are officially on a roll we’re blessed with this uniquely sweet-tart treat to start off the season. Although usually prepared and eaten much like a fruit, rhubarb is a leafy vegetable. The plant grows up to 3 feet tall with gigantic leaves unfurling in all directions. The red and green speckled wands you find in the market are the leaf stalk of the plant. The leaves themselves are toxic, containing oxalic acid crystals, so don’t try to cook ‘em up if you’re harvesting your own. The root’s popularity in ancient Chinese medicine aided Rhubarb’s migration from Asia to Europe and finally the Americas. Ben Franklin is credited for bringing rhubarb seeds to the North American east coast in 1772, but eating the stalks did not catch on until the early 1800s, when it became a popular ingredient for pie and home made wines.