It’s Rhubarb Season…
If you’re a fan of sweet and sour, rhubarb is the perfect food. Best known as a tangy pie filling, this vegetable has such potential as a sweet treat, that it is most often considered a fruit.
As with most complex carbohydrates, rhubarb is low in calories. Because it is 95 percent water, rhubarb is generally not thought of a highly nutritious food. However, its nutrients match its taste in significance, boasting a good amount of vitamin C, folate, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. Rhubarb is also considered a good source of potassium and is rich in fibre.
Rhubarb for Healing
Originating in Asia more than 2,000 years ago, rhubarb was first used for medicinal purposes. Chinese folklore reveals that doctors used the plant to reduce fever and cleanse the body. According to specific Asian tradition, rhubarb is an extremely effective food for detoxifying and cooling the liver. In Traditional Chinese Medicine today, the root and stem are used as a remedy to reduce the toxicity that results from eating too much meat. A study from the University of Alberta in Edmonton, found that rhubarb stalk lowers both cholesterol and fat levels in the blood.
Choosing Ripe Rhubarb
Select stems that are long, thin, and fully colored. They should be firm and crisp, without seeming hard. If leaves are still attached, they should look fresh. Avoid either very slender or very thick stems, since these are probably over-ripe and will be too fibrous to enjoy.
Rhubarb stalks can be stored for up to four weeks when sealed, unwashed, in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. Peel off any stringy covering before cooking. Be sure to cook and eat only the stems of the rhubarb plant. The leaves contain toxic levels of oxalic acid, which makes them poisonous.
One cup of diced rhubarb contains:
Vitamin C 10 mg
Folate 8.5 mcg
Calcium 105 mg
Magnesium 14.5 mg
Phosphorus 17 mg
Potassium 351 mg
Protein 1 g
Dietary fibre 5
Rhubarb Recipe Ideas:
– add chopped bits to muffin batter
– combine with strawberries or raspberries when making jam
– use when making apple crisp, apple pie, apple cake and apple sauce
Rhubarb Sauce Recipe:
1 1/2 cups slice, 1/4” thick rhubarb
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup unpasteurized honey
1 Tbsp arrowroot powder (or corn starch) dissolved in a 1/2 tsp water
Place the rhubarb and water in a small pot. Cook, uncovered, over medium heat until the rhubarb is totally soft and able to be stirred into a sauce-like consistency. Add the honey and stir, continuing to cook, for another two to five minutes, until well blended. If you desire thicker sauce, whist in the arrowroot powder, whisking continuously until thick (if necessary, turn heat up so that sauce bubbles slightly).
The entire cooking process should take no longer than 25 minutes. Serve immediately over potatoes, rice or ice cream.