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When we think of the glorious summer produce coming our way, one rooty plant that often gets overlooked is rhubarb — unless, of course, it’s served in a sweet pie or spread on some toast in jam form.

By far, its most recognizable use is in strawberry-rhubarb pie, and at Blue Duck Bakery, with locations in Greenport and Southold, master baker Keith Kouris makes a classic version every year once rhubarb comes into season.

“After a long, cold winter season, I think everyone gets tired of the same old pies,” he said. “We look for the ripest rhubarb we can find — dark red is best — and blend that with fresh strawberries, a combination of brown and granulated sugar, cornstarch, a splash of lime juice and pinch of salt.”

Rhubarb has a flavor profile similar to that of a granny smith apple — fresh and tart — and there are many ways to use it other than pie, Kouris said.

“Rhubarb can be used in many of your favorite baked goodies — muffins, scones, coffee cake, jams, cobblers,” he said. “my favorite would be rhubarb crisp with strawberry ice cream.”

Whether it’s pie, jam or crisp, pick up some rhubarb to make your favorite sweet dessert at Andrews Family Farm in Wading River or look for it at farm stands across the North Fork.

Rhubarb Fun Facts

  • Because of rhubarb’s sour taste, it’s usually used in desserts and sweetened with sugar.
  • Rhubarb wasn’t a popular ingredient until the 18th century, when sugar became a more common household ingredient.
  • The dried roots of the rhubarb were used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine.
  • Although it’s similar in appearance to celery, the USDA actually classifies rhubarb as a fruit.

Health Benefits of Rhubarb

  • Rhubarb is low in calories.
  • It is rich in vitamins C and K1.
  • Rhubarb is high in fiber.