It’s botanically classed as a vegetable, but rhubarb is best when put to deliciously fruit-like use in pies, turnovers, crisps, fools, and compotes. Choose firm, brightly colored stalks with no brownish edges; slender stalks will be the tenderest. If you find rhubarb with its bright green leaves still attached, it’s likely quite fresh, but do discard all those leaves before cooking—they contain oxalic acid, a toxic compound. Rhubarb always needs cooking, as well as a good bit of sugar to coax out its intriguing, tangy sweetness and ruby color. For more on rhubarb desserts, see Bright, Tart Rhubarb Desserts.