I will never dispute the superior quality of the rhubarb I buy from *my* vegetable stand at the farmers’ market in Saint-Malo, but I’ve always found its color disappointing. The stalks, while reddish at the base are, and cook up, mostly green. This makes for some pretty ugly jams and compotes, because the green, cooked rhubarb is dun and pale. Not exactly appetizing. I’ve compensated with colorful add-ins like strawberries (natch), cherries, and even a glug of crème de cassis, but the fact remains: in my world, rhubarb’s gone green.
A little research has led me to learn that green rhubarb is not inferior to red (except in color). And I think I’ve figured out the source of the now nearly ubiquitous color change (it’s not just my grower): Green varieties are hardier and often grow better. Also, many of the early-harvest rhubarb varieties tend to be green. And from personal experience, I’ve found that green(ish) rhubarb isn’t as stringy as some of the deep red rhubarb I’ve bought. Better quality, better yield, quicker to market…small wonder my vegetable grower has gone with a greener varietal.
Guess it’s time to embrace that my rhubarb recipes are—and perhaps always will be—a little green.