Dear Barbara: I really like rhubarb but I am a little confused; Is it a fruit or a vegetable? When is the best time to buy it and what do I look for when I do buy it? — Don from Lodi
Dear Don: To answer your first question, rhubarb is considered a vegetable, even though we treat it as a fruit, much like tomatoes that we use as a vegetable when it is actually a fruit. The decision was made by the New York courts in 1947 that because we use rhubarb in the United States as a fruit, it was considered a fruit for the purposes of regulations and duties. A side effect was a reduction of taxes paid. According to bonnieplants.com, harvesting time for rhubarb is from early spring to the end of summer. You will want to cut all the leaves off because they are toxic. Also cut about 2 inches off the bottom of the stem. Rhubarb should feel firm and be as red as possible.