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bunch of rhubarb

Produce Spotlight on Rhubarb

Rhubarb, a tall, stalky vegetable, is a perennial plant that can grow for years. Its long, edible stalks are full of water, vitamin K, and fiber and are low in calories. Rhubarb has a sour, bitter taste and usually needs a sweetener added to it. It is often paired with strawberries for a blend of sweet and sour.


Shopping for Rhubarb

In Massachusetts, rhubarb is usually harvested in the spring, when it is available fresh in grocery stores, farmers’ markets, and roadside stands. Look for plump and firm red, green, or speckled stalks. If the leaves are still attached, they should be brighter green and not wilted; these large, triangle-shaped leaves are toxic and not edible and should be discarded. Chopped frozen rhubarb can be found year-round.


Common Types

Cherry Red – cherry red color; sweet, juicy flavor.

MacDonald Canadian Red – large bright red stalks good for canning, freezing, or baking.

Victoria – popular variety with fat red and green stems and sweet, lightly tart flavor; widely available.

Valentine – large, long, and thick reddish green stalks; very sweet and low in acid.


Storage and Preparation

  • To use within two days, place freshly cut stalks bottom end down in a glass half full of water. Cover with a plastic bag and refrigerate.
  • To store for up to two weeks, place freshly cut rhubarb stalks in a covered container or wrap stalks in plastic or foil and refrigerate.
  •  To freeze raw rhubarb, wash and cut up stalks and freeze on a baking sheet. When frozen, transfer to a labeled freezer bag or container. Use within 12 months.


Serving Ideas

  • Bake into pies, cobblers, muffins, and cakes.
  • Stew or puree into a sauce.
  • Mix thinly sliced or diced raw rhubarb with some honey, maple syrup, or sugar and serve over yogurt or oatmeal.


Rhubarb Math

1 pound stalks =

about 3 cups chopped raw or 2 cups chopped cooked

1 serving = ⅔ cup raw


Using Locally Grown Produce

For recipes featuring fruits and vegetables, visit our website To locate places to buy local produce, visit


Nutrition Facts

Serving size: 1 rhubarb stalk; Calories: 26; Carbohydrates: 6 g; Fiber: 2.2 g; Fat: 0.2 g; Saturated fat: 0.1 g; Sodium: 5 mg