I fortunately have a good friend who has a large rhubarb patch, as for the 10 years we have lived in our present home, numerous attempts to grow my own have failed, the plant crowns just disappear!
Disclaimer – the leaves of all rhubarb varieties are toxic, do not ingest!
Commonly thought of as a fruit, rhubarb is a vegetable. The precise origin of culinary rhubarb is unknown. The species Rheum rhabarbarum and R. rhaponticum were grown in Europe before the 18th century and used for medicinal purposes. By the early 18th century, these two species and a possible hybrid of unknown origin, R. × hybridum, were grown as vegetable crops in England and Scandinavia.
The leaf stalks can be eaten raw, especially when young, they have a crisp texture like celery, but have a tart taste and are more usually cooked with sugar and used in pies, crumbles and other desserts.
Recipes for rhubarb –
Magical Correspondences of Rhubarb -
Gender - Feminine
Elements - Earth
Planets - Venus
Deities – Ares and Cupid
Magical Properties of Rhubarb -
Fidelity, love, lust, sexuality, protection, worry, willpower, clearing, banishing.
Personally, I dry the leaves for magical use (the stalks are too delicious, so they are eaten). Once dry the leaves can be used in poppets, incense blends, pouches etc.
Sources and further reading –
A Kitchen Witch’s World of Magical Food by Rachel Patterson