When to collect rhubarb for food and medicinal purposes

When to collect rhubarb for food and medicinal purposes

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Probably, everyone knows from childhood an unusual garden plant, with its foliage resembling a burdock. But unlike wild burdock, it is eaten. Uncomplicated appearance and pleasant sour taste - this is the peculiarity of rhubarb. And more and more often today, gardeners are planting it on their plots. But they are concerned not only with the rules of cultivation, but also with the collection of rhubarb itself. After all, such a plant has its own characteristics that should be observed when collecting it for food or for medicinal purposes.

When to harvest rhubarb stalks

In the last month of spring, in May, rhubarb begins to grow out of the ground. At this moment, its petioles are very thin and fragile, holding young leaves. They are quite long and have a pink tint. It is at this time that the collection of rhubarb for food should be performed.

Young petioles of this plant contain a sufficient amount of beneficial trace elements, including organic acids. Moreover, they are used not only for food, but also for medicinal purposes. But if we talk about the use in cooking, then the petioles can be eaten raw and cooked. There are many recipes, such as jam, jelly and even baked goods.

Important! Raw rhubarb stalks are not recommended for young children and those who suffer from gastrointestinal or pancreatic diseases.

How to harvest rhubarb stalks correctly

In order for the rhubarb stalks to have all the taste qualities when they are harvested, to be useful to humans and at the same time the harvest does not harm the plant, some rules should be followed:

  1. The main rule of collection is the choice of a young plant. The petioles should be tender, rather fragile, and fairly juicy. Therefore, the collection should be performed in May and with re-growth, which occurs in mid-July. Edible petioles are those that have a length of 20 to 80 cm, and their width should not be more than 1.5 cm.
  2. The petiole should be torn off at the very base, it should not be broken. It is necessary to tear off smoothly, without sudden movements, gently grasping the base and slightly twisting it. If there are difficulties in this process, then you can carefully cut the petiole to the very base.
  3. Collecting all rhubarb leaves is strongly discouraged as the plant may die. For normal growth and development, 5-6 leaves should be left, two of which should be young.
  4. Collect rhubarb stalks for food when it is blooming. Therefore, in order to increase the collection time, you can remove the stems of the peduncle.

Attention! During flowering, not only the taste of the petioles changes, but they themselves become quite harmful for consumption, since a large amount of oxalic acid accumulates in them.

When to harvest rhubarb root

Rhubarb roots are often used for medicinal purposes. Harvesting rhubarb roots should be done in the spring before the shoots appear, or in late autumn, when, on the contrary, all the leaves have already died out. The process of leaf dying off occurs in the period from September to October. It is during this period that digging up a root for a plant will be a less traumatic process.

For what purposes are rhubarb roots harvested?

Rhubarb root has long been used as an excellent therapeutic and prophylactic natural remedy that has a mild laxative effect, helps to get rid of toxins and helps to normalize the digestive tract.

Due to the content of anthraglycosides in the root, it is used for the following purposes:

  • to increase appetite and normalize the digestive tract;
  • with constipation;
  • to cleanse the body of toxins, biological poisons and fats;
  • to combat obesity;
  • to suppress depression;
  • to speed up the recovery process after fractures;
  • with arthritis;
  • for the treatment of hepatitis and other liver diseases;
  • to prevent the appearance of cancer.

Sometimes rhubarb root is recommended for menopause.

But it should be understood that the root has a different effect on the body, depending on which remedy will be used. For instance:

  1. In liquid form, rhubarb extract obtained from its root is used as a laxative. But in a small amount in tablet form, this extract can have the opposite effect, acting on the body as a fixing agent.
  2. Tincture of the root with vinegar helps in the treatment of serious diseases such as vitiligo or psoriasis.
  3. An infusion of root powder with water helps in the treatment of the liver, having a choleretic effect.
  4. The mashed fresh root helps in the care of the skin of the hands and face.
  5. With the help of a decoction of the root, you can prepare a healing hair dye that will strengthen and heal them.

How to collect correctly

There are no special instructions for collecting rhubarb roots; the basic rule for digging out is minimal damage to the plant. To do this, it is necessary to dig it up from the very edge of the bush so as not to deform the entire root system.

The dug root must be thoroughly cleaned of the ground, cut off the petioles, lateral and small roots from it. After it is thoroughly washed under cold running water and laid out in a sunny place to dry.

How to dry and store

The harvested and dried rhubarb root can be used raw or dried. In the dried state, the shelf life of rhubarb root increases to 3 years without losing its healing properties.

Drying should be done in a well-ventilated area outdoors. You can also perform this process using an electric dryer at a temperature of 50-60 degrees. Properly dried roots should be very light and brittle.

Store them in a cool dry place. This can be done in a wooden, cardboard or fabric container. The main requirement for storage is maintaining a constant level of humidity so that the product does not become damp.


Rhubarb harvesting can be done for a variety of purposes. But it is imperative to follow the rules for collecting both the petioles and the roots of this plant, so that the harvest is only beneficial.

Watch the video: How to Grow and Harvest Rhubarb (December 2022).

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