The leaves of rhubarb contain high levels of a chemical called oxalic acid. In high doses, oxalic acid is toxic to humans because it interferes with kidney function. The amount of leaves you would need to eat to reach a lethal dose is quite a lot, but even small amounts can make you feel sick. When preparing rhubarb, simply cut off the leaves then wash the stalk before cutting. Rhubarb makes an excellent addition to apple pie, as the tartness balances out the sweetness of the apples.
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