Flowering rhubarb: Is it still edible when it blooms?
- Is flowering rhubarb edible "> Worth knowing about oxalic acid
- Differences in taste
- Harvest rhubarb
Rhubarb is very popular among hobby gardeners - rightly so, it looks pretty and extends the culinary possibilities. But is the plant still edible even if it develops its flowers from June? When and how should you harvest the bars? And what is really wrong with ominous oxalic acid? Important questions that we clearly answer below. We also clean up with persistent - but definitely false - rumors.
From June, the flowers come
In June, the rhubarb plants begin to form beautiful flowers that visually inspire. Nevertheless, one looks at the splendor rather skeptical view - in the assumption, they go with an incompatible to poisonous effect. For example, many hobby gardeners grow the bars throughout the summer and stop harvesting as soon as the rhubarb plants sprout the first delicate flowers. But is that really necessary? Does the rhubarb season really end in June?
Note: The "deadline" is 24 June (Johannistag). In all likelihood, this date is a traditional superstition related to rhubarb oxalic acid.
Is flowering rhubarb edible "> Worth knowing about oxalic acid
In addition to some valuable vitamins and other good nutrients, the rhubarb plant also contains oxalic acid. This substance is harmful, as it prevents the absorption of iron in the body, which is particularly alarming for small children and kidney patients. Furthermore, the acid attacks the enamel and binds calcium in the organism.
Of course, all of this sounds very negative and can spoil any appetite for rhubarb at first. But: The dramatic scenarios occur only at extremely high doses and under unusual conditions.
a) 100 grams of fresh rhubarb contain about 180 to a maximum of 765 milligrams of oxalic acid.
b) According to scientists, a toxic dose is reached only with 5, 000 (!) milligrams of oxalic acid.
According to this, a man weighing about 60 kilograms would have to eat an insane 36 kilograms of fresh rhubarb to poison himself. That is simply unthinkable. In this respect, one does not need to worry unnecessarily about the oxalic acid in the plant.
Oxalic acid increases over time
Rhubarb plants contain the least amount of oxalic acid in April. The salary builds up in the course of the growing season and thus becomes higher from month to month. Rhubarb is growing very strongly between April and the end of June. It is therefore understandable that one prefers to believe the rumor that the plant is poisonous after flowering and not edible, rather than the risk of damage to health. In fact, the flowers have no influence on the oxalic acid . This "hides" primarily in the leaves, which are not consumed anyway.
In short: rhubarb stalks are as edible in summer as in spring. After flowering, they can continue to be consumed without hesitation.
Differences in taste
From the descriptions so far it is clear that the compatibility of the rhubarb is given at all times. Nevertheless there are differences - in terms of taste. When the plant flowers, it is woodier and therefore less tasty than in the spring or before flowering. Of course, this speaks in favor of harvesting and eating the rhubarb stalks sooner rather than later.
Tip: For the best taste, it is recommended to grow rhubarb in moist, shady locations. The corresponding bars taste more intense than those sun-drenched plants.
Practical: You can delay or even stop the flowering of rhubarb if you pull the plant under a protective foil in the spring.
The harvest of rhubarb is relatively special. The poles are not simply cut off the ground. Instead, turn it slowly with its lower end out of the ground and break it off at the thinnest point. So the tasty roots can be eaten with.
Tip: It is advisable to carefully remove the first rhubarb flowers as soon as they appear. In this way, one prevents a vigorous flowering and, on the other hand, ensures that the plant devotes all its energy to the sprouting of the rods. As a result, it grows even after the "critical" month of June still strong and full, so you can harvest delicious rods. On the other hand, if the rhubarb plant is allowed to flower freely, it becomes progressively weaker, depending on the flowering frequency. The result of this process are only very thin and therefore less tasty bars.
To ensure maximum enjoyment, the rhubarb stakes should be eaten only in cooked and peeled form. By the cooking process, the oxalic acid is logically reduced to a decent amount.
Note: Rhubarb is not a fruit but a vegetable. This is often confused.
Tips for consumption
Rhubarb stems have a sour flavor. To compensate for the harsh note, they are best served with sweet ingredients. Anyone who wants to eat rhubarb tends to be pure, just needs to sugar it. Especially tasty is the combination with a light vanilla sauce or other dairy products.