Technically rhubarb is a vegetable. In the 1940’s a New York court decided to call it a fruit because it was eaten like a fruit. True story, wikipedia told me.
I am willing to concede that rhubarb is a confusing fruit/vegetable, it doesn’t taste particularly nice, kinda odd shaped and what to do with it? But it grows first thing in the Spring and it is red, mostly, and after a long Winter, red fruit growing from the ground is exciting. Henceforth I call rhubarb exciting. Guess what else I call it, healthy. Rhubarb rocks when it comes to healthy.
- 1 cup of rhubarb contains 105mg of calcium, 10% of our daily requirement.
- good source of lutein, which is excellent for skin and eyes and neutralizing that free radical business.
- good source of vitamin K, needed for blood clots, the good kind of clots like when you fall off your bike or cut your finger slicing parsley.
- it is a natural laxative, available in pill form if required.
- reduces cholesterol.
For a regular fruit/vegetable that would be a pretty good list of healthy magic but not for rhubarb, it’s taking healthy to a whole new level. There is new evidence to show that the polyphenols in rhubarb may destroy cancer cells. Yes, destroy. These polyphenols are released when rhubarb is cooked, stewed or baked. Which is fantastic news because really who’s going to eat rhubarb raw. Ugh. There is hope that rhubarb might be able to provide a new anti-cancer drug. Cool, no? So eat your rhubarb.
FYI- rhubarb leaves are toxic, don’t eat them, you will be very barfy. If you are susceptible to kidney stones, avoid rhubarb, it’s high in oxalates.
Well, that’s all fine and good, we should eat more rhubarb but how. I know that’s what you are asking me. So I’m just going to go ahead and tell you.
Rhubarb Option #1
Heather Niblock’s Super Awesome Rhubarb Crumble
1 kg of rhubarb (about 5 to 8 stalks), chopped. 2/3 cup sugar. Mix together and in a saucepan and simmer until sugar is melted and rhubard is stewed but still chunky.
In a small bowl, mix 1 cup of flour, 1/2 cup brown sugar and 3/4 tsp of cinnamon or ginger, or both. Mix together.
Cut 1/2 cup of butter into chunks. Mix it into your flour with your fingers until it resembles coarse bread crumbs.
In a greased 8 x 8 pan pour in the rhubarb and spoon crumble on top. I’ve made it the other way and put the crumble in the pan first and the stewed rhubarb on top. Both works great.
Bake at 400 for 25 minutes, until golden.
I’ve also made it with gluten free flour and the appropriate amount of xanthum gum.
Rhubarb Option #2
Rhubarb Option #3
Stewed rhubarb. Wash and chop rhubarb, place in a appropriate sized sauce pan. Add some sweetener, I use real sugar but I am betting honey would be good. Heat slowly and stir, increase heat as rhubarb starts to juice. Cook until rhubarb is stewed but still chunky. Let cool and refrigerate. Serve on yogurt, ice cream, toast, add to smoothies.
Are you a rhubarb lover? How do you cook it up? Do you grow rhubarb in your garden? If not you should, it’s readily available at most garden centres and takes no care at all. Plant and harvest.