Definitely one of the lesser known vegetables, rhubarb is tart, tart, tart. Just about any rhubarb recipe you encounter will also have a good amount of sugar in the ingredients list. Next time you pick some up, try a bite of it raw and you'll know why. Although rhubarb is most often found in pies and crisps, sometimes in breads, and occasionally as a sauce (my favorite), I've also heard of plenty of people eating it raw dipped in sugar. For those that favor this method, there's usually a story about hiding in grandmother's garden among the tall rhubarb leaves, with the sugar bowl.
History and Nutrition:
Wikipedia tells us that rhubarb has been enjoyed for thousands of years in China and Russia. As an import, it's value topped expensive spices like cinnamon in medieval Europe, but it didn't appear in the states until the early eighteen hundreds. Rhubarb's biggest nutritional contribution is Vitamin K (45% of your daily allowance) and Vitamin C (16%). It also tallies up a notable amount of Calcium (10%), Potassium(10%), and Manganese (12%), among other nutrients. The leaves are, in fact, poisonous. That's why you will never see them for sale, we always chop them off first.
Recipe: Rhubarb Sauce
New to the flavors of rhubarb? I definitely recommend trying this recipe for Rhubarb Sauce. It's incredibly simple, you get to put it on vanilla ice cream, and it would be impossible to feature the flavor of this unique vegetable to a higher degree.
- 1 Cup Sugar
- 1/2 Cup Water
- 2 lbs Kirbygrown Rhubarb, trimmed, washed, and cut into small chunks.
Preparation: In a saucepan simmer sugar and water until sugar is dissolved. Add rhubarb and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Adjust sugar to taste.
Set aside to cool for about twenty minutes, then serve warm over vanilla (or strawberry!) ice cream, or simply in a cup by itself. It's also a great breakfast chilled, with vanilla yogurt.
Variations: Stir in 1tsp vanilla extract before serving to balance out the rhubarb with some mellow sweetness. For another delicious variation, add 1 cup of fresh, chopped Kirbygrown strawberries or whole raspberries right after you take the sauce off the stove.
If you've tried all of the the usual rhubarb options and you're looking for something new, check out some of the ideas at epicurious. The sweet/sour/savory chutney paired with a pork tenderloin is definitely on my to-do list! Have any favorite uses for rhubarb, or stories of grandma's garden? Let us know, we'd love to hear about it!