Rhubarb blooms - can you still eat it now? Information about the harvest

The Content Of The Article:

Rhubarb blooms - can you still eat it now? Information about the harvest: harvest

Again and again, the question arises whether the flowering rhubarb is now edible and this can be harvested without hesitation. Why the rhubarb season is directly related to flowering and whether the flowering rhubarb is suitable for consumption, learn here!


The rhubarb season ends basically with the 24th of June, because at this time the so-called Johannistrieb begins. This is the second growth spurt, because now the rhubarb gathers strength for the winter and the following year. To support this process, the plants are harvested shortly before. Furthermore, the plants now form the first flowers, if they were previously exposed to a cold. In general, flowering begins when the rhubarb is exposed to a maximum temperature of 10 degrees for a period of 12 to 16 weeks. If the so-called vernalization has taken place, the rhubarb forms a paniculate inflorescence from June onwards. This can grow up to 40 cm high and contain up to 500 cream-colored flowers.

Properties of rhubarb flowers

The rhubarb makes its flowers to attract insects and thus to start its propagation. The rhubarb flowers are therefore considered to be extremely useful for many insects, because the easily accessible pollen and the tasty nectar attract natural helpers such as bees and bumblebees. But not only the animal world enjoys the inflorescences, because we humans can use these versatile. On the one hand, the cream-colored flowers are ideal as decoration in the house and on the other hand, they can be further processed into tasty dishes. Because contrary to the widespread misconception of flowering rhubarb is unreservedly consumable.

Rhubarb contains oxalic acid

blooming rhubarb edible

Many hobby gardeners mistakenly believe that the rhubarb is poisonous with the onset of flowering. This misconception is often justified by the increasing content of oxalic acid. Because this is built up in the vegetation phase and is therefore the lowest in May and April and the highest from June. Although the oxalic acid content is highest for flowering, the concentrations are generally harmless to health. However, some plant parts, such as the leaves and the bark of the stems, contain a particularly high amount of oxalic acid. Therefore, it is advisable not to consume these parts of plants, but to remove them directly at harvest.

Oxalic acid is poisonous

Oxalic acid is an odorless and tasteless substance, the consumption of which can lead to unwanted side effects. For oxalic acid binds calcium in the organism and at the same time prevents the absorption of iron. In addition, the oxalic acid promotes rheumatism and kidney stones and is bad for joints. Therefore, especially people who suffer from gout, rheumatism or kidney stones should consume rhubarb only in small amounts.
Furthermore, it is known that the acid attacks the enamel. This is noticeable after eating the vegetables through a dull feeling of the teeth, which is often perceived as unpleasant. However, the teeth should not be cleaned directly after consumption, as the "brushing" could additionally damage the already attacked tooth enamel. It is better to wait about 30 minutes after eating. Mostly, the enamel has calmed down in this time and the unpleasant feeling is already gone.
Tip: The rhubarb should never be eaten raw! In particular, flowering rhubarb should be cooked before consumption due to the increased content of oxalic acid.

Poisoning by rhubarb hardly possible

The toxic effect of oxalic acid occurs according to scientists only at a consumption of about 5000 milligrams of oxalic acid. Since 100 grams of rhubarb contains about 150 to 500 milligrams of oxalic acid, poisoning is almost impossible. For an adult with a body weight of around 60 kilograms would have to eat 36 kilograms of rhubarb to trigger a toxic effect. The same is true of children: a child weighing around 20 kilograms would have to consume around 12 kilograms of rhubarb.


As a rule, rhubarb is harvested from the beginning of April until 24 June at the latest. If the vegetables are harvested at a later time, this usually affects the taste, which is often described as "woody". Therefore, it is advisable to harvest the rhubarb as early as possible. Whether the plants are ripe, can be seen in their appearance, because ripe plants grow upright and have no wavy leaves. In addition, the fabric is smoothed between the ribs on the rhubarb stalks. Another characteristic of the maturity is the color of the rhubarb stalks, which ranges from a rich red to a fresh green. Once the rhubarb has these characteristics, the starting signal for the harvest is given.

blooming rhubarb edible

To harvest the rhubarb, cover the plant stem with the base and unscrew clockwise. Under no circumstances should the plant be cut off with a knife, as the resulting interface significantly increases the risk of rot. Then the leaves and the whitish stalk are removed in the lower part of the rhubarb stalk. The harvesting of the flowers is also the same: The flowers are taken on the stem approach with your fingers and at the same time turned out clockwise.
Tip: In order for new rhubarb stalks to grow, never should all the stems be harvested. It is better to always leave about two-thirds of the rods and to harvest young plants only from the second year.


The top priority for the storage of rhubarb is: Never store in aluminum foil or aluminum containers! Because the oxalic acid contained in the plant reacts with the aluminum and dissolves it. It is better to wrap the freshly harvested rhubarb in a damp cloth and then store in the refrigerator. However, the rhubarb is only stable for a few days, which is why it is best processed directly or conserved. In particular, the freezing is ideal for making the vegetables last longer. For this purpose, the rhubarb is best peeled and cut into small pieces. Then the rhubarb can be stored in a plastic bag or a plastic container in the freezer.
Although some parts of rhubarb are considered poisonous, they are not suitable for consumption anyway. However, the stems and the flowers can be safely harvested even after 24 June and then further processed or preserved.

Video Board: How to harvest a rhubarb plant without killing it.

© 2019 EN.Garden-Landscape.com. All Rights Reserved. When Copying Materials - The Reverse Link Is Required | Site Map