Can I Cook With My Mostly-Green Rhubarb?

Good Questions

Q: I'm growing rhubarb in my backyard and despite warnings that it's not worth harvesting the first year, mine is huge and I think I might harvest it after all.

However, mine isn't completely red as typically seen in the grocery store. In fact, it looks much more like the rhubarb in these photos — which is what prompted me to wonder if my first year rhubarb is harvest-able. Is there a difference in taste between rhubarb that is mostly green vs. rhubarb that's solid red?

Mine is about 3-4 inches of red at the bottom near the base of the plant followed by mostly green stalks. Is it okay to use it like this?

Sent by KatieEditor: Katie, well, if it's good enough for Dana's friends' wedding pies, then we think it is probably good enough for any of us! In all seriousness, in our understanding, the constraint on not harvesting rhubarb the first year is more about making sure the plant is producing enough before you hack off a lot of the stalks. But if yours is producing a lot, then we say go for it.

But we'd like to hear what the readers think too. Do you think Katie can cook with her mostly-green rhubarb? (And in a final note: we are so jealous of Katie's New Mexico garden, still producing rhubarb at this time of year!)

Related: 36 Pies for Janeen and Paul: Part Two

(Image: Dana Velden)

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