If you’ve never prepared rhubarb before then it can be quite a mystery ingredient. Is it a fruit? Is it a vegetable? And how do you get it ready to be eaten? The big question, of course, is does rhubarb need to be peeled or not?
No, rhubarb does not need to be peeled. It is perfectly safe to eat rhubarb without peeling it. The only exception is rhubarb that has either been allowed to grow too thick or rhubarb towards the end of the season – it can have tougher, more fibrous outer layers.
How to Peel Rhubarb
Although peeling rhubarb isn’t essential for eating it, whether that’s cooked into a crumble or dunked into sugar and eaten raw, there are a few cases where you may want or need to take a thin layer off the rhubarb.
So, how do you peel rhubarb without ruining it?
Before you get started, all you need to peel a rhubarb stalk is a sharp knife. No! You don’t need a vegetable or Y peeler. This is because the rhubarb will do most of the work for you.
Take your sharp knife and cut a knick into the top of the skin. Then, using your thumb pushed against the flat side of the knife and pull the skin away from the rhubarb. It should peel right off without much effort at all.
Keep repeating around the edge of the rhubarb stalk until it has all been peeled then continue to do so for as many rhubarb stalks that you want to peel.
How to Peel Rhubarb Successfully
If you’ve decided to peel rhubarb then here are a few tips you’ll want to follow before doing so:
- Don’t Bother – Ultimately, peeling rhubarb isn’t essentially. You can safely eat it without peeling it. So… Just don’t bother!
- Be Gentle – When you peel a carrot or potato, you can be a little heavy-handed. Rhubarb, however, will easily bruise if you’re a little rough with it. If you decide to peel it, then try to do so gently.
- Avoid Using a Vegetable Peeler – When peeling rhubarb, you don’t actually need to use a peeler. Instead, take a sharp knife and cut a small knick into the end of the rhubarb. You should then simply be able to pull the outer layer off with your hands.
Why You Should Peel Rhubarb?
So, is there any reason to peel rhubarb? Are there benefits in doing so? Maybe…
Removes Stringy Fibres
If the rhubarb you have got has been left to grow a little too thick or if it is towards the end of the growing season then there is a chance that the rhubarb has become a little fibrous. This will result in stringy pieces of rhubarb.
You can combat some of this stringiness by peeling the outer layer of rhubarb. You only want to talk off the thinnest layer you can.
But that is the only reason we can think of for peeling rhubarb.
Why You Shouldn’t Peel Rhubarb?
You probably know already that there are a number of reasons why you ought to avoid peeling rhubarb:
Waste of Time
Peeling anything takes time. If you’ve got 10 stalks of rhubarb to prepare and peel, before you know it, 15 minutes have gone by and you could be sitting down and eating the rhubarb by now… If it weren’t for peeling it!
Peeling rhubarb is a complete waste of time!
Very Few Benefits
As you have probably guessed by now through reading this article, there are very few (if any) benefits to peeling rhubarb. Sometimes, vegetables can have a tough outer layer which makes eating them unpleasant. This is simply not the case with rhubarb.
It doesn’t look any better. It doesn’t taste any better. It doesn’t improve the texture… So, save yourself some time and effort and leave the outer layer on.
Peeling Rhuarb FAQs
Do you still have questions about rhubarb and whether or not you ought to peel it? Then these might help you out:
No, there is no need to peel rhubarb if you’re cooking it to make pies or crumbles. When you stew the rhubarb, the outer layer will soft with the rest of the rhubarb.
No, rhubarb can be eaten raw almost from the moment you pick it. The only thing you really need to do is remove the leaves (which are poisonous) and trim the ends which can be a little woody. It’s then ready to be eaten.
No, there is no need to peel rhubarb before you place it in the freezer. In fact, when freezing rhubarb you want to keep as much of the outer layer intact as possible as it will protect the rhubarb from oxidation.