Rhubarb is a perennial vegetable with large leaves and long fleshy red stalks. When it’s purchased at the green market, rhubarb looks like to a red celery stalk.
Hothouse-grown rhubarb is available year round in many areas; field grown rhubarb comes to season in Spring in April and May. When buying rhubarb, look for firm stalks. Rhubarb starts a brighter cherry red and fades to pink or green. Avoid product that’s starting to turn green!
Despite a 1947 court ruling which determined that it would be taxed as a fruit, rhubarb is, botanically speaking, a member of the buckwheat family is therefore a vegetable.
Rhubarb is typically used in sweet dishes, but because of its acidity it can also be used in various savory preparations. When we cook rhubarb at Babbo, we typically poach the stalk in simple syrup. We use the poached rhubarb to make crostata and the cooking syrup to make bellinis.