Hold the crumble.

What is it

A tart, red vegetable often treated as a fruit.

In season

There are two types of rhubarb: forced and field grown. Forced rhubarb is available from January to March, grown in darkened conditions such as sheds, which encourages the plant to grow upwards and produce bright, tender pink stalks. Field grown rhubarb is in season from April to September, grown outdoors, resulting in slightly tougher texture and less vibrant colour.

When choosing rhubarb, go for the younger, redder stalks—they tend to be more tender and sweeter.


Rhubarb is best eaten within a few days after purchase. Trim the ends and pop in the fridge (or freezer if you want it to last a little longer).


Is rhubarb a fruit or a vegetable? That's where things get confusing. In 1957, a New York court declared rhubarb a fruit because it’s most often cooked as one. So it’s sort of...both.

While it was originally found in China, it's not featured in any Chinese cooking. Despite its Asian roots, rhubarb made its way to Europe along the Silk Road, where it became highly sought after, despite its initial high cost. Today, it's easily grown wherever it's popular.

The name rhubarb is from the Latin rhabarbarum – barbarum meaning barbarian. So, rhubarb is the barbarian vegetable. It’s a pretty alien-looking thing, if we are all honest, but it's utterly delicious.

How to cook with rhubarb

While most revert to crumble when cooking with rhubarb, its astringent and complex flavours lend it to all manner of executions. The essential first step is to remove the rhubarb leaves: they are poisonous if you eat enough of them. Wash the stems, and cut off the ends. And let’s cook with rhubarb.

It’s a balancing act

The sweet and sour flavours of the rhubarb balance the savoury, umami notes of the meat. Our spiced red plum, ginger and rhubarb relish is the perfect pork belly accompaniment.

Keep it classic

The traditional executions of rhubarb pies, cakes or crumbles are still delightful. This tart, tangy vegetable is perfectly balanced in sweet settings. Diana Henry's yoghurt creams with rhubarb being a prime example.

“Chef, what’s your favourite rhubarb recipe?”

While it’s important to see beyond crumble, our chefs still cherish rhubarb's classical combos. Verena thinks nothing quite beats rhubarb and custard. But Milli likes raw shaved rhubarb on a roast duck salad.