How To Pick Perfect Rhubarb


How to Pick Perfect Rhubarb

Rhubarb has always reminded me of blushing celery, even though the two are not related.

Celery only comes in one color, but rhubarb has an entire collection of lipstick shades. Besides soft pale pink, rhubarb’s long stalks can range in color from light green to vibrant magenta.

How to Pick Perfect Rhubarb

This springtime vegetable (yes, it’s a veggie, not a fruit) has a make-you-pucker tartness, so it’s usually gussied up with sugar or spices. Most rhubarb-based recipes lean toward the sweeter side. Strawberries pair beautifully with rhubarb. You can sub rhubarb for up to half of the strawberries in many recipes, but you’ll need to bump-up the amount of sweetener.

Rhubarb’s tartness also works with savory dishes. I like to simmer it until very tender, add a touch of sugar and use it as a marinade for pork tenderloin or chicken.

How to Pick Perfect RhubarbIt’s not always necessary, but sometimes I “string” my rhubarb to get rid of particularly thick and tough fibers. I use my vegetable peeler to peel down the length of the stalk (a paring knife works just as well).

Oh, and one good-to-know tip: the stalks of the rhubarb are the only edible part… the leaves are poisonous. They won’t kill you, but they can cause real stomach distress. And even though you’re going to cut them off and throw them away, rhubarb leaves should be green and fresh looking, not wilted or brown.

Rhubarb is in season right this minute. I’ve pulled together a few Rhubarb Rules to consider so you’ll know how to pick perfect rhubarb every time!

How To Pick Perfect Rhubarb

Extra Helpings: Corn OFF the Cob


Despite all the talk of the drought, I’m still seeing ears of corn in the markets… both the super and farmer’s.

Which reminded me of another way I get my kids to help out in the kitchen (and spend a little more time with them).

Instead of nagging them about their homework, messy rooms (you know the wah-wah), I get them to help with shucking and preparing the corn. It’s “work” for them, I know, but everyone pitches in around our house and, inevitably, it gets the kids talking (which I like, even if I’m only listening).

I’ll be the first to admit that it’s easier to buy frozen niblets. But if you have the time (or inclination) why not give this a go and enjoy deliciously sweet summer corn later this fall (and gather a little info now)?

Here we go:

1. Put a big pot of covered water on the stove to boil. Meanwhile, shuck the corn.

2. Blanch the corn in the boiling water. The water should return to a boil in a minute or two… if it doesn’t, you don’t have enough water or you’ve added too much corn.

3. Boil for about 4 to 6 minutes. Remove corn and drop into a bowl of icy water to stop the cooking. You can use the same boiling (and iced) water over again with the remaining corn. Add more water (or ice)  if needed.

4. Cut the corn off the cob. You can get one of those fancy-do corn cutters, or just cut it like I do, using a Bundt pan.

  • Place a Bundt pan or angel food cake pan on a damp paper towel on your cutting board.
  • Put the pointy end of the corn in the hole and slice downward with your knife. See it in action here:

5. Place the corn in a either a vacuum sealed plastic bag or a gallon-size Ziploc® Freezer Bag (squeeze out as much air as possible from the bag).

6. Label the bags with the date using a Sharpie so it won’t smear.

Yep, it’s a little involved, but in between the shucking and the blanching and bagging, I get to spend some time with the kids, peeling back the layers of the day, and finding out what’s REALLY going on in their world.


I’m Christina Chavez

I was a TV journalist for many years, but with a house full of kids I decided to come off the road, go to culinary school and follow my passion for cooking. Mama’s High Strung is all about food… everything from creative recipe ideas to some really cool kitchen gadgets and cooking tips. I live in Chicago, but I love to travel and write about my food discoveries! You can reach me by email: