Lisa Johnson heads up the Master Gardener program for Dane County. She joins Bryant for all that is good about a Wisconsin favorite that grows in your backyard….Rhubarb.
Rhubarb is actually a vegetable, not a fruit, and is known as the pie plant. You guessed it, it is often times included in sauces, pies, crisps and crumbles. Johnson explains how the plant that is native to Asia is high in fiber and vitamin A, potassium and calcium. Johnson says that Rhubarb flourishes in southwest Wisconsin and the Midwest. Rhubarb is extremely easy to grow and as Bryant finds out, is known as a bachelors favorite plant as it requires almost no attention. When harvesting rhubarb, Johnson says that you definitely do not want to eat the leaves, because they are toxic and contain oxalic acid. Additionally, you never want to harvest rhubarb that has been frosted, as the oxalic acid moves into the stem…and the stem is the part that you want to consume. Rhubarb leaves can be used as a natural insecticide, as bugs do not like the oxalic acid. Before you go rubbing the rhubarb leaves all over your body, consider just placing leaves around some of your favorite plants to keep insects away.
Learn more about rhubarb by listening to Bryant and horticulture specialist’s Lisa Johnson’s interview by clicking the link below.