Rhubarb has the reputation of being an old fashioned vegetable, after reaching the peak of it’s popularity around WWII. It’s distinctive tartness is popular with some, but not everyone!
Rinse rhubarb in cool water and then wrap the bottom in damp paper towels. It should be kept in the refrigerator in a plastic bag.
- Rhubarb is most popular made into a pie with strawberries.
- A delicious in cakes, breads, muffins, rhubarb makes a superb crisp.
- For the brave, rhubarb can be eaten raw… we recommend dipping it in sugar!
- It makes an excellent sauce to accompany meats, desserts, or served on ice cream.
- Jar up some rhubarb jam to enjoy this refreshingly tart vegetable all year.
Recipe: Rhubarb Sauce
When stacks of trimmed rhubarb show up at the market, I can’t resist making the long red stalks into a sauce, and it is AMAZING on vanilla ice cream. The addition of vanilla to the sauce itself adds enough mellow sweetness that you really don’t need ice cream at all!
1 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup Water
2 pounds fresh rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 1/2″ thick slices
In a saucepan, simmer sugar and water until the sugar is dissolved. Add rhubarb and simmer, stirring occasionally, 10-15 minutes. Cool slightly and server warm over vanilla or strawberry ice cream, or yogurt.
Add 1/2 cup chopped strawberries, 1/2 cup whole raspberries or 1/2 tsp vanilla for three deliciously different flavour combinations.
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The origins of rhubarb can be traced back to China at least 2700 years ago, where it was highly regarded for it’s medicinal properties. While it was used medicinally in medieval Europe, the first recorded planting outside of China didn’t occur until 1608. It took another 100 years for this tart vegetable to land on anyone’s plate – rhubarb wasn’t considered food until the early 1700′s! But that’s not too surprising, considering that the leaves are poisonous and parts of the plant can be used as a laxative. There is also an understandable connection between the decrease in cost of sugar and the new classification of rhubarb as food – have you ever bitten into a raw rhubarb stem? Rhubarb made it’s first appearance stateside in the early 1800′s, in Maine, where it has since gained the alias of “Pieplant”.
- The part of the plant that we eat is the ‘petiole’, or stem.
- Rhubarb was so highly regarded it was given to Emperors as tribute and used as leverage for trade negotiations.
- A rhubarb flower is a large, beautiful, cluster of tiny, cream-colored blossoms on a thick, round stem.
Rhubarb contains some potassium and is low in sodium. It’s a good source of vitamin C and dietary fiber.