Should you peel the rhubarb?

Peeling rhubarb is often a matter of personal taste, and while many people say there's no need to peel rhubarb, others say unpeeled rhubarb isn't even worth it. hard to eat.

peel rhubarb

What is rhubarb?

First of all, rhubarb is a vegetable that works like a fruit. It is very acidic and it is generally associated with recipes for sweet desserts and bread. The stems grow in the open air with wide green leaves, which vary in color from lime green to deep red. The color does not indicate the degree of ripeness. Rather, it indicates which variety of rhubarb it is. Rhubarb grown in a greenhouse has a brighter red hue and a sweeter flavor than traditional rhubarb grown outdoors.

Rich in phytochemicals, phenols and other nutrients, rhubarb is a vegetable best known to accompany fruit in pies. Although this vegetable is more versatile than you think, it's good to have some information before you start cooking with it, isn't it? And you may have noticed that rhubarb recipes only use the stalk because the leaves are poisonous. But that shouldn't stop you from enjoying this bright red plant. Whether you eat it fresh or frozen, raw or cooked, rhubarb can add a tangy flavor to any summer dish.

Peel the rhubarb

Farmers and cooks all seem to have their own opinion on peeling rhubarb. Rhubarb is almost always peeled, mainly because the peels can be fibrous in recipes, especially in rhubarb jams which require a smooth texture. It only takes a minute, and the peel is generally found to be the least flavorful part of the rhubarb stalk. The inside is sweeter, and the skin tends to have a more pronounced acidity.

That said, many cooks never peel their rhubarb, and there's good reason for that.

peel rhubarb easily

Reasons for peeling rhubarb

There are times when you really need to peel rhubarb , including:

-For a smooth consistency : you need a very smooth consistency for your recipe. Rhubarb jam and compote always benefit from first peeling the rhubarb.

-Late Season Harvest: In early spring, rhubarb tends to have a soft skin, but as the season progresses and the temperature warms, the skin becomes tougher. After the first few weeks of rhubarb season, it's usually a good idea to peel the rhubarb.

-Bitter peels: This really varies by rhubarb variety, but some tend to have a bitter peel. Most commercial varieties are quite mild, so if you buy from the store, you're safe. Heirloom varieties aren't always so consistent, and there are a few plants that have bitter peels (but sweet cores) regardless of when they're harvested. This can also be a problem if you are growing rhubarb from seed, as each rhubarb plant will be different from the parent plant.

-Pesticides: the rhubarb has been sprayed with pesticides or herbicides, or you are not sure if it is organic. Generally, rhubarb is a low-to-no-spray crop, but it's always a good idea to peel the fruit if you're unsure if it's organic.

multifunction vegetable peeler

Reasons for not peeling rhubarb

In other cases, you should avoid peeling rhubarb for best results:

-To roast: when roasting rhubarb in the oven, it is good to leave the skin on so that the stalks hold together better.

-Red color: Some rhubarbs are only red on the outside, and a dull yellow/green on the inside. If you want a dramatic red presentation, you'll have to leave the peels for the color.

-To make beverages (rhubarb wine or jelly): You can leave the peels on whenever you use rhubarb for its color and flavor, and the stems are strained, such as when making rhubarb wine or rhubarb jelly . The stalks will be drained, as for the preparation of a wine or a rhubarb jelly. The color of the dish will be better this way, but care should be taken to use organic rhubarb in this case.

peel the rhubarb
The rhubarb peels are often the only part that has a red or pink coloring, so you will lose the color if you peel the rhubarb.

Do you really need to peel rhubarb?

So, do you really need to peel rhubarb? The answer depends on you.

If you suspect it has been sprayed with pesticides or herbicides, that's probably a good idea. If harvested late in the season, after warm weather, that's probably a good idea too, as the skin will be fibrous and stiff.

Other than that, peel it if you like, or skip it and use the unpeeled rhubarb in your favorite delicious rhubarb recipes.

How to peel rhubarb?

Peeling rhubarb is simple and only takes a minute, but how do you peel rhubarb?

Start by using a very sharp paring knife and slip it under the skin at the end of the rhubarb stalk. The skin is very thin, but also very hard. Looking at the end of a rhubarb stalk, you should be able to clearly distinguish the skin from the rest of the rhubarb flesh.

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Peel the rhubarb with a knife

Once you have slipped your knife under the edge of the rhubarb, wedge the skin of the rhubarb with your thumb.

The peel should immediately begin to peel away from the stem. Pull your knife down so the peel stays in one piece.

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Keep pulling until the stem of the rhubarb is completely peeled.

All that's left is a piece of tender rhubarb, without that annoying string that sticks to your teeth. This is especially useful for delicious rhubarb stews , where the inner part of the stalk disintegrates and if you don't peel it, you end up with long, fibrous rhubarb strands.

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And here is the job

Note that if you want to simplify your life, you can also use a multifunction peeler to make peeling your rhubarb easier .

How to cook rhubarb once peeled?

After removing the poisonous leaves, you are ready to cook the rhubarb. If the stalks have small imperfections, you can remove them with a vegetable peeler to peel the rhubarb . From there, you have several options. Here are some of our favorite ways to cook rhubarb:

-Cut the stems into 2-inch pieces. Then, cut the pieces into julienne and mix them with red wine vinegar and a pinch of salt and sugar. After marinating for a few minutes, add the quick marinated rhubarb to fresh salads, fruit salads or use it as a pickle for sandwiches.

- Cut the rhubarb into one-inch pieces . Simmer the chopped rhubarb in a small saucepan over medium-low heat with water and sugar (for 3 cups of rhubarb, add 1 Tbsp water and 1/2 cup sugar). After 15 minutes, allow the mixture to cool. Pour compressed rhubarb over ice cream, cakes or use it as a syrup for pancakes or waffles.

-Cut the rhubarb into small 1/4 to 1/2 inch pieces . Mix it with sugar and add it to your favorite baked goods.

-Toss chopped rhubarb with sugar (about 1/2 cup for every 3 cups of rhubarb). Bake it in an oven at 200°C for 15 to 20 minutes, until soft and tender. Puree cooked rhubarb and use it to make homemade soda, add it to boozy margaritas, or turn it into ice cream.

When is rhubarb in season?

Rhubarb begins to grow in early spring and reaches its peak freshness and flavor between April and June. It can grow in the warmer temperatures of summer, but it grows fastest and tastes sweetest early in the season. Often found at farmers markets, the best stems are firm with no signs of wilting in their leaves.

What is the nutritional value of rhubarb? And its health benefits?

Rhubarb is particularly rich in minerals. It contains large amounts of calcium (86 mg per 100 grams), iron (0.5 mg), phosphorus (14 mg) and potassium (288 mg).

A cup of diced rhubarb has only 26 calories, while a stalk has only 11 calories and is overall very low in fat and sugar. There's also no significant difference between fresh and frozen rhubarb, so both are solid options. Antioxidants include anthocyanin and lycopene, which help support heart health and cancer prevention. In addition rhubarb contains fiber, calcium, vitamin C and vitamin K, which is very important for strong bones, and iron. It contains a lot of nutrients."

Conclusion :

We asked ourselves the question: should we peel the rhubarb? The answer ? Not necessarily, it depends on several factors: the season, your health, your culinary preferences. The essential step is rinsing under hot water to eliminate pesticides, herbicides and other harmful products for our precious health. If you are interested, we have studied the same question with asparagus, on how to peel them and why?

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