I Adore Rhubarb
I find that when I speak about Rhubarb; it’s rather like Marmite in that people either LOVE it or HATE it. Personally, I absolutely ADORE Rhubarb. It’s always been one of my favourites since my Grandmother used to grow it in her garden when I was younger. Its leaves are massive and the plant as a whole is a thing to behold. Every time I see it, eat it and cook with it, it brings back happy memories of my childhood. A taste full of flavour, infused with nostalgia.
Rhubarb is actually a vegetable and the stalks look similar to celery, but with a beautiful bright pink colour.
Why it is a no-no for people suffering from Rheumatism and Arthritis
Rhubarb is high in oxalic acid, which is reputed to inhibit the absorption of iron and calcium and can also aggravate joint problems, such as arthritis.
From its home in the northern climes of Asia, Mongolia, Siberia and the foothills of the Himalayas, it first came to Europe as a dried root with medicinal qualities. It wasn’t until the 18th century that this vegetable was introduced to English kitchens.
The wide-veined, heart-shaped leaves contain oxalic acid, which can be toxic when consumed in large quantities, so ensure that you discard them.
It is one of the few plants that almost every gardener can manage to harvest due to the fact that it is slug-proof, drought-proof, flood-proof and apparently fool-proof!
Enjoy Rhubarb in Moderation
Rhubarb stalks range in colour from pale green to a deep purplish red/pink. Its high fibre content can keep you regular, but too much, and it can also have a purgative or laxative effect. It has traditionally been used to treat mild constipation. Unlike some of the over the counter laxatives, with repetitive use, Rhubarb doesn’t create “lazy bowel.”
Health Benefits of Rhubarb
Rhubarb contains more calcium than an average glass of milk, but not in a form which the body can easily absorb.
However, the stalks do provide healthy amounts of vitamins C and K, manganese and potassium. With only 20 calories per serving, it is naturally low in calories. Unfortunately, rhubarb requires sweetening as it’s rather tart. I use coconut sugar to ass sweetness as it’s a healthier option than refined sugar.
Obviously, too much sugar raises the calorie count significantly and negates some of the health benefits.
Rhubarb is seasonal and it grows naturally across the British countryside, with Yorkshire’s Rhubarb Trianglebeing the country’s biggest producer of “forced Rhubarb”.
Rhubarb – You Either Love It Or Loathe It
My favourites recipes are Rhubarb Fool, Rhubarb and Ginger Jam or Marmalade and, of course, a good old Crumble – see my recipe for my zingy version “Juicy Lucy’s Spicy Rhubarb Crumble” made with Ginger, Cardamon and Orange Oil. Delicious, serviced with dairy free coconut yoghurt or cream.