Rhubarb is considered a fruit because it is usually eaten as a dessert, but it is actually a vegetable.

Thought to be a native of Tibet, rhubarb is the leaf stalk (or petiole) of a perennial plant. The leaves are not eaten as they are poisonous.

What to look for

Look for firm, red glossy stalks that are crisp and showing no signs of wilting.


All year, but less available in July and August.


Refrigerate in plastic bags.

How to prepare

Remove leaves. Wash young rhubarb stalks and cut into equal lengths. Older, thicker rhubarb needs any coarse strings to be peeled off before slicing. Do not eat the leaves as they are poisonous.

Ways to eat

Rhubarb can be stewed with a little sugar and eaten as a dessert. It can be used in muffins, cakes, jams, flans or in crumbles, in place of, or in addition to, apple.

Cooking Methods

Bake, braise, stew.


Stewed without sugar
Nutrition Information
Serving size: ½ cup - 133g
per serving 
% Daily
intake per
per 100g 
Energy (kJ/Cal) 63/15 0.7% 47/11  
Protein (g) 0.8 2% 0.6  
Fat, total (g) trace 0% trace  
 - saturated (g) 0 0% 0  
Carbohydrate (g) 1.3 0.4% 1.0  
 - sugars (g) 1.3 1% 1.0  
Dietary fibre (g) 3.2 11% 2.4 Contains dietary fibre
Sodium (mg) 3 0.1% 2  
Vitamin C (mg) 10.6 27% RDI* 8.0 A good source of vitamin C
Calcium (mg) 123.7 15% RDI* 93 A source of calcium
Potassium (mg) 532   400 Contains potassium
Iron (mg) 0.5 4% RDI* 0.4  

Percentage Daily Intakes are based on an average adult diet of 8700 kJ
Your daily Intakes may be higher or lower depending on your energy needs.
*Recommended Dietary Intake (Average Adult)

Source: The Concise New Zealand Food Composition Tables, 10th Edition, Plant & Food Research - 2014

Rhubarb is one of the highest calcium containing vegetables; however, calcium absorption may be inhibited by the presence of oxalic acid which is also found in rhubarb.  Cooking can reduce the effect of oxalic acid.  Rhubarb is a good source of vitamin C and contains dietary fibre and potassium at significant levels.


Display rhubarb on refrigerated shelving. Place heads in one direction for the most effective display. Use QR code on labels.

Store at 0ºC with a relative humidity of 95-100%. Rhubarb is ethylene sensitive so store separately from ethylene producing fruits and vegetables.

Purchase rhubarb with the New Zealand GAP logo.


Stewed rhubarb
Stewed rhubarb

Stewed rhubarb is delicious with cereal and yoghurt for breakfast, or as a dessert made into a crumble. View Recipe

Rhubarb and custard
Rhubarb and custard

An upmarket presentation of rhubarb - an old family favourite. View Recipe

Anise baked rhubarb
Anise baked rhubarb

Impress your guests with this star dessert. View Recipe

View more Recipes


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