Professor: You may continue to eat rhubarb

To the astonishment of anyone utterly convinced that you cannot eat rhubarb after Midsummer, LSM's Latvian language service confirms that in fact, you can.

Nor is this mere uninformed conjecture. The assertion that one can indeed eat rhubarb after Midsummer comes with impeccable academic bona fides courtesy of Professor Vija Eniņa.

In summary, Prof. Eniņa maintains that while after Midsummer it is not desirable to eat rhubarb which has been growing continuously since spring, if the overgrown stems are cut back and other fresh ones are allowed to grow, these new shoots can be eaten all summer long.

Contrary to some folklore, Midsummer is not a strict boundary line, after which all rhubarb immediately becomes a toxic hazard. However, there is some – albeit confused – wisdom in the blanket belief that all rhubard is bad rhubarb after Midsummer. Older stems become tough and accumulate deposits of oxalic acid that can contribute to the formation of kidney stones and other health problems when they enter the human body.

As long as the rhubarb stalk is still soft, and has just started sprouting its vegetation, it can be eaten safely as it will not have accumlated anything harmful in its cells, the doctor of pharmacy pointed out. Old stems need to be pulled out for the new ones to grow.

"It's the same with sorrel – cut off the old growth for new leaves to grow. Please eat them healthily," said the professor, adding that in the summer, both rhubarb and sorrel lose some of their appeal, because arguably more tempting greens and berries come into season.

However, for hardcore rhubarbophiles who are determined to extend their rhubarb consumption for the forseeable future, LSM.lv offers several recipes: rhubarb puree with condensed milkrhubarb soup with dumplings, and fake rhubarb tarts.

 

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