If it looks like a fruit and it acts like a fruit, is it a fruit? No! We've embraced the flavors of our Veggie of the Month, rhubarb, to create delicious new compote to accompany some of our breakfasts and
snacks - Strawberry Rhubarb Apple Compote. The combination of these three items makes for a delicious sweet treat. As May is the most popular harvest time for Rhubarb you can expect to see this item appearing on your menus this month, but in the meantime, we invite you to familiarize yourself with the vegetable at home by checking out our recipe below for a Strawberry Rhubarb Salad with Mint.
Is it a Fruit or a Vegetable?
Rhubarb often gets mistaken as a fruit because of its natural sweet, tart flavor however it is a perennial plant that has stalks similar to celery so it is classified as a vegetable. One of the best things about perennial vegetables are that they grow back each year so you can plant them once and if cared for properly continue to get a reliable harvest for 10 or 20 years.
As one of the first vegetables to harvest in the spring season, rhubarb tartness is looked at as a welcoming tonic. Rhubarb helps with blood circulation as well as the digestive system, and that is eagerly welcomed after the cold winter season. While some people use rhubarb as a cleansing vegetable, others used it as an ingredient in a decadent treat.
Rhubarb Used in Desserts
Often referred to as the pie plant because of its popularity as filling for a pie, rhubarb is notoriously easy to incorporate into desserts. It can be used in a variety of cakes, pies, jams, and purees because of the way it is easily stewed into a soft texture. One of the reasons rhubarb is frequently paired with apples and strawberries is because of the volume they add in addition to the sweetness. Also, strawberries are another early spring harvest, the two are a natural pair.
Check out some of our favorite dessert recipes from Food52 that incorporate that highlight our Veggie of the Month as a dessert: Raspberry-Rhubarb Crumble with Cracklin' Oat Bran Topping, Rhubarb Curd Shortbread, and Buckwheat-Rhubarb Scones.
The leaves of the rhubarb plant are actually poisonous if a large quantity is eaten so be sure to avoid those and only use the stalks. The stalks can be kept in the refrigerator, unwashed and wrapped tightly in plastic for up to three weeks.
It's an easy and refreshing salad dish that can accompany any summer meal. Incorporating mint into the salad adds an extra little herbaceous flavor.