Typically spotted in desserts during warmer months, rhubarb raises a lot of questions for people (or is it just me?). Aside from its purple celery-like appearance and its poisonous leaves, I'm pretty unfamiliar with it. Is it a vegetable? A fruit? What is rhubarb? It's not the most popular ingredient, but it definitely has its place in the flavor world, especially when it's paired with strawberries. Here's everything you need to know about this mysterious spring staple. 

What is Rhubarb?

First thing's first: rhubarb is legally a fruit. Back in 1947, a New York Court ruled that it's a fruit because it's most often cooked as one (sorry, veggies). It's harvested from April to June, which is why rhubarb is especially popular during the warmer months. In its raw form, the plant is ridiculously tart, which explains why the taste is cut with sugar and featured almost exclusively in desserts. If you're going to cook with rhubarb, you must remove the leaves and only use the purple stalks, because the leaves are extremely poisonous.  

How to Eat Rhubarb

Surprisingly, you can incorporate rhubarb into more than just desserts. If you're daring enough, you can eat it raw. Some people suggest using something sweet (like sugar) to offset the tartness. You can also puree rhubarb and use it in a smoothie, make it into a sauce, roast it for a salad or dry it and eat it as fruit leather. Basically, there are a ton of ways to enjoy it. 

Is Rhubarb Healthy?

Rhubarb is really helpful for issues with digestion and is also used to relieve constipation and can soothe inflammation. Rhubarb also contains vitamins and minerals, like protein, vitamin C, and potassium. Since it also contains vitamin K, rhubarb can improve your bone health as well. This is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to all the benefits of rhubarb, so I feel confident in saying that it's very healthy.

As you can see, rhubarb is a pretty underrated fruit. If you can deal with its tartness, you'll be rewarded with various health benefits. While it's only available in the fleeting summer months, you can always buy a little extra and freeze it so you can enjoy it anytime you want. The versatility of rhubarb is amazing (you can literally make it into tea), so I'm sure you can find a way to enjoy this extraordinary fruit.