Picking Champagne Rhubarb




A step by step guide on how to pick and cut champagne rhubarb. Be sure not to break off too many roots as this will cause the plant to rot away.

Instagram and Twitter has been awash this bank holiday weekend with photos of people picking rhubarb and making all kinds of lovely sweet treats with it.  Picking rhubarb gives you a real sense that spring has settled in nicely and summer is truly on the way.  I tried earlier this to force my rhubarb in a strange looking frame, which got blown away by the wind the rain – so in the end, I just left it to do what it was supposed to do on its own.  I can’t say that this has done any harm to my crop as I’ve got a glutton of rhubarb to harvest.

It’s not advised that you cut rhubarb stems, the reason being is that once cut, the base of the stem will die and rot into the plant, which is as good as it sounds.   When harvesting rhubarb you want to be sure to pull stems out of the crown of the plant.

Reach as far down along the stem, into the root, as possible and pull a stalk in the same direction in which it’s growing.  You’ll know when you’ve done it right because of the sound – you’ll hear a nice, light, suctioned crunch – if you hear a snap, you may have broken it off at the root (this isn’t the end of the world, and you may accidently do this as I have done on occasion, so try not to lose too much sleep over this!)

You should end up with a nice clean stalk like the one below.


I’ve seen people cut rhubarb at differing lengths all over the internet, and I’m sure each variety and each grower has their own personal preference, but personally – I like to cut off the stalk about 2 or 3 inches from the leaf, or when the colour starts to change along the stem.

Can’t wait to make some jam with this and show you the recipe!



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  1. I’m not 100% sure on this, but I think I read somewhere that the base of the stem – the pale pink / white section – contains a lot of the flavour compounds, so I tend to just trim off any manky bits and use the pale ends as well.

    Hope the rhubardb jam goes well. I made a bucketful of rhubarb and blackcurrant last year. We’ve still got two or three jars in the cupboard, and this year’s crop has started to come in…

    1. It’s certainly the bit of the that looks the most appetising – I always think the white/pinkish bit will look better in a happy shopper sweety bag! I’m going to publish my rhubarb jam recipe later on this week, although it’s very simple, it’s just rhubarb and jam sugar. I’m tempted to open a jar early as I’m worried that it’s turned into concrete – I need a bit of practice!

  2. […] – you’ll hear a nice, light, suctioned crunch.” Avoid cutting or snapping the stems when you harvest your rhubarb because this can cause rotting in the […]

  3. […] – you’ll hear a nice, light, suctioned crunch.” Avoid cutting or snapping the stems when you harvest your rhubarb because this can cause rotting in the […]

  4. […] hear a nice, light, suctioned crunch.” Keep away from slicing or snapping the stems whenever you harvest your rhubarb as a result of this may trigger rotting within the […]

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