Toxic rhubarb warning impacts Casselton winery
Casselton, N.D. - Around here, rhubarb is as American and Midwest as Mom and apple pie. In fact, this time of year, we're all anxious for that first batch of rhubarb sauce, jam, bars and pie. But this year, a warning from the experts at NDSU: Bec...
Casselton, N.D. - Around here, rhubarb is as American and Midwest as Mom and apple pie.
In fact, this time of year, we're all anxious for that first batch of rhubarb sauce, jam, bars and pie.
But this year, a warning from the experts at NDSU: Because of the hard freeze earlier this week, some rhubarb stalks are "toxic."
It's the plant's reaction to the abnormal freezing temperatures we suffered across the region.
NDSU Plant Sciences Department is getting calls about it, and they have this advice about rhubarb leaves.
Dr. Esther McGinnis- NDSU Plant Sciences: "They can turn brown and black and appear limp and we know there will be problems if the stem/stalk is mushy it will not be appetizing and the chance for accumulation of oxalates."
If you have a rhubarb plant that looks like it had damage from the cold, your local extension office can answer questions you may have about its safety.
And in Casselton, North Dakota, tonight, one of the state's famous wineries is adjusting its production, after hearing the news.
There are enough rhubarb plants around Casselton to likely supply Maple River Winery with product.
Greg Kempel- Maple River Winery- Casselton: "200 people bring rhubarb."
...But man, do they go through the rhubarb here.
Kempel: "Using 30,000 pounds of rhubarb a year in our product- we want to make sure it is all safe."
And so to be sure, Maple River is putting out the word to its rhubarb producers: We are delaying the harvest slightly.
Kempel: "Freeze damage shows up 7-14 days, so we have delayed the harvest two weeks. Normally, we bring the rhubarb in right after Memorial Day."
That's not all. When we stopped by Kerry's Kitchen in Cassleton to get treats for the road, they were busy cutting up rhubarb for fresh miniature pies. That one is mine. Bottom line: Check your rhubarb. Green leaves and sturdy stalks means: Let's get cooking.
If you decide to cut back your rhubarb plant after a hard freeze, the new growth is OK to eat.