rhubarb-vanilla bean shortbread bars

Rhubarb is a hardy, frost resistant crop that is similar in appearance to celery, except for its red or pink color.  Its fleshy and, sometimes, stringy stalks are the edible part, while the leaves are not eaten because they contain large amounts of oxalic acid, a stomach irritant, which can be toxic. When purchasing rhubarb, look for crisp, glossy stalks; the more intense the color, the sweeter they will be.  Rhubarb has a strong tart and bright flavor, and is best cooked with sugar as a compote, chutney or pie filling.
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