Rhubarb: is it fruit or vegetables? We clarify

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Rhubarb: is it fruit or vegetables? We clarify: vegetables

Rhubarb also known as ordinary, vegetable or curly rhubarb, is a useful plant of the family Knouterichgewächse. The Latin name 'Rheuma rhabarberum' translates as 'root of the barbarians' and refers to its region of origin Tibet. Eaten the sturdy stems. They can be consumed with restriction raw, but above all to be processed into numerous desserts or cakes. Some parts of the plant are toxic due to the high content of oxalic acid. But is rhubarb now fruit or vegetable?

Fruits or vegetables?

Due to the fact that rhubarb is mainly processed into desserts such as compotes, jams, desserts and cakes, it is believed to be closer to the fruit than to the vegetables. Even its slightly sour taste is more associated with a type of fruit. One argument for fruit could be that vegetables usually have to be sown or pulled every year and that fruit grows on perennial plants. Nevertheless, it is undisputed that rhubarb is a perennial shrub that is botanically clearly attributable to the vegetables, even if it is always found on the supermarket shelf at the fruit.
Actually, rhubarb is a stalk vegetable that also includes asparagus, celery and stalk or ribbed mangold. The fruit stands are not eaten here, but the stems, but not the shoot axis. The stems usually grow above the ground in stalk vegetables, bear flowers and leaves and are thickened in meaty form. These are all characteristics that also apply to the rhubarb.
Tip: If you put a bucket or large clay pot over the plant in the early spring, even before the shoot, the pale stalks appearing a few weeks later are particularly tender and mild.

Usable and poisonous plant parts

Rhubarb is not only very aromatic but can also boost our immune system because it contains important vitamins, minerals and pectins. The Chinese recognized this already about 2,700 years BC. Chr. And use it from then on as a medicinal plant. Rhubarb season starts in April and ends on St. John's Day, 24th June. After that you should not consume it as possible. The problem with this plant is the high proportion of oxalic acid, which is harmful when consuming large quantities.

Rhubarb - vegetables or fruits

Particularly high is the proportion in the leaves, but they are not suitable for consumption anyway. But also in the stems oxalic acid is contained and their proportion rises slowly but steadily. As a result, consumption after 24 June is not recommended. Until then, the concentration in the stalk is classified as harmless, especially if you reap in April, then the content of oxalic acid is still minimal. In normal quantities, you can safely eat the refreshing vegetables during the best harvest season.

Notes on growing rhubarb

Rhubarb is a so-called permanent crop, it is planted once, can stay at the same location for about 10 years and be harvested year after year. He puts under optimal conditions annually in size and yield.
  • Optimal are sunny locations and fertile, loose, deep soils
  • Most suitable is sandy soil enriched with foliage humus
  • Too shady rhubarb should not stand
  • In dark locations, the stems remain very thin
  • Space requirement of a single plant is about one square meter
After the harvest, it is advisable to provide the plants with compost and some mineral fertilizer, so they can go well-strengthened into hibernation. From October, no care is required. Even on a winter protection can be waived.
Tip: Rhubarb can usually be harvested for the first time as of the 3rd year.

A vegetable with a high ornamental value

The flower buds of rhubarb are broken out to the advantage of stems usually in April / May. But it is the flowers that have a very high ornamental value and are extremely decorative. It is often said that rhubarb can not be eaten during flowering, but nowhere is it proven.
If you attach great importance to the filigree and very decorative flowers, it is best to have two or three flower shoots. Or you decide for a pure ornamental rhubarb, for example, the crown rhubarb or Siberian ornamental rhubarb. This imposing jewelry grows up to 200 cm in height and enchants from May to July with a beautiful red flower. Their initially green and later reddish leaves as well as the seeds have a high ornamental value.

Rhubarb is a vegetable

Among the approximately 60 species of this vegetable plant, there are some varieties that are particularly popular. Most acids contain varieties with green peel. Rhubarb with green pulp and reddish peel are much milder. The sweetest are varieties with red skin and red pulp. Which variety of this vegetable one ultimately chooses is a matter of personal taste.
Food rhubarb 'Holsteiner Blut'
The approximately 60 cm high stems of this proven, medium-early and very hardy classic are red-stalked with predominantly greenish to pink flesh. They are remarkably mild in taste. Breaking cream-colored flowers completely, the harvest is correspondingly higher.
Food rhubarb 'Rosara'
Also this food rhubarb is extremely productive. Its stems are up to 40 cm long, greenish with reddish peel and the flowers are cream colored.
Food rhubarb 'Goliath'
Of all the food rhubarbs, the variety 'Goliath' is a real giant. The greenish, reddish stems of this high-yielding variety can reach a length of up to 90 cm. They have a slightly sour, strong taste. The cream-colored flowers can be a real eye-catcher in the garden. Best harvest time is like all varieties from April to June.
Raspberry Rhubarb 'Frambozen Rood'
This raspberry rhubarb also called rose rhubarb is surprising with an intense, fruity-fresh taste. Its stems are red-skinned with green pulp. They smell pleasantly of raspberries and are so tender that they can also be eaten unpeeled.
Food rhubarb 'Red Valentine'
This rhubarb is a breed from Canada with red peel and red pulp. In a particularly warm spring, the stems may remain bright. Compared to other varieties, the stalks with a length of 30 cm remain comparatively small.
Rhubarb is a somewhat unusual, yet very aromatic and tasty vegetable. Even if one or the other would classify it as fruit, its individuality does not detract. Those who can not make friends with the special taste of rhubarb could benefit at least from the attractiveness of its flowers.

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