R5 Rhubarbs Are In Season for Spring

Until very recently, rhubarb had an image problem. Like rutabegas or turnips, this leafy vegetable was a victim of its own strength. Rhubarb is cold-resistant and hearty (plus, a spring harbinger). Once planted, this perennial never needs tending—it’ll simply shoot its ruby stalks every spring. Given the ease of its cultivation, rhubarb was once ubiquitous in the American  Northeast. Cheap and plentiful, rhubarb made its way into everything from spicy compotes to the classic, strawberry rhubarb pie. But unlike rhubarb’s traditional partner, strawberries, its charms are less than universally appealing. Left raw, rhubarb is acidic and fibrous: its use requires care. Yet rhubarb pays off with its ruby color and a sharp, vegetal tartness that adds perfect sharp note to anything sweet or cloying. Look for Rhubarb/Lemon Verbena Soda at Restaurant North (386 North Main St, Armonk (914) 273-8686; restaurant north.net)

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