How do I know it's time to harvest Rhubarb?

The friendliest place on the web for anyone that enjoys cooking.
If you have answers, please help by responding to the unanswered posts.

AllenOK

Executive Chef
Joined
Aug 25, 2004
Messages
3,463
Location
USA, Oklahoma
This spring, I planted a Rhubarb plant my MIL brought with her. She's had it in a pot for years, and has never been able to harvest enough Rhubarb off it to make even one pie. Well, in the past several month, it's really taken off. I have probably 20 or so stalks, with absolutely huge leaves. When should I harvest it?
 

buckytom

Chef Extraordinaire
Joined
Aug 19, 2004
Messages
21,933
Location
My mountain
when your wife says she need rhubarb!!!

actually, now that your rhubarb is growing, you can harvest the outer stalks. wait until the leaves are fully grown, then you may snap off the outer stalks at their base as you would seperate a stalk of celery from a bunch. if you cut the stalks, you could get rotting which will kill the plant.

leave at least 1/2 of the inner stalks growing to help the plant keep going thru the rest of the summer. on older developed plants, you can pick down to about 1/3rd.

btw, take your harvest now and leave the rest to continue growing for next year. don't pick too much into august.

so long as you're in a cooler clime, rhubarb is pretty forgiving and a robust grower.
 

Aurora

Senior Cook
Joined
Aug 4, 2005
Messages
354
Location
Northern California
Last edited:

buckytom

Chef Extraordinaire
Joined
Aug 19, 2004
Messages
21,933
Location
My mountain
aurora, i understand your warning, but i think it's an established plant that has just been transplanted, not a newly planted rhizome.
it should be ok to harvest, in fact beneficial, to harvest.
 

Aurora

Senior Cook
Joined
Aug 4, 2005
Messages
354
Location
Northern California
Buckytom,

Thanks for the correction. I went back and re-read the post. If it's just a transplant then the first year harvest should be OK but I still wouldn't over harvest so as to allow the plants to become firmly established in the new location. I'd hate to have rhubarb pies this season only to be frustrated next season due to worn out plants.

Cheers.
 

Alix

Everymom
Moderator Emeritus
Joined
May 10, 2002
Messages
23,275
Location
Edmonton, Alberta
Allen, rhubarb is the most forgiving of plants. We routinely yank out a ton of the stuff and fill our freezers with it and stuff I bake with it. (Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmpie!!!!!!)

Just as an addendum to Bucky and Aurora's good advice, I pull the stalks out. You don't need to break them, just give them a hearty pull and they will come right out. And I am sure you already know this, but rhubarb leaves are poisonous so make sure you don't get ANY in your baking and discard them safely in the trash. Rhubarb is also too harsh on little kid tummies. Too many oxalates.
 

AllenOK

Executive Chef
Joined
Aug 25, 2004
Messages
3,463
Location
USA, Oklahoma
I've been busy, so I haven't been able to get online for a few days.

The day after I started this thread, PeppA when and picked several of the stalks, enough to fill a gallon ziplock. Only one problem, she picked from the center out. Joy. I'm not sure if she "pulled", "broke", or "cut" the stalks. I also didn't see any leaves, so I'm assuming they got discarded somewhere. Since it's my MIL's plant, the stalks went home with her. I'll have to ask her if she made a pie yet. This is the first time she's gotten enough of a harvest to make a pie.
 

Latest posts

Top Bottom