By Chelsea Fyrberg
This year I planted rhubarb in the garden in hopes of replicating my grandmother’s famous strawberry rhubarb pie. Aware that I lack her green thumb, I did some research to prepare myself for this endeavor. Much to my relief, I learned this perennial vegetable doesn’t require much attention at all; it actually grows like a weed in most regions of the U.S.
The more I learned about rhubarb the more fascinated I became with this tart plant. Rhubarb is one of the most commonly used herbs in Chinese Medicine. In fact, rhubarb root was used for curing stomach ailments, relieving constipation, and as a poultice for fevers and swelling in traditional China.
Containing a mere 26 calories per cup, rhubarb is a fantastic low-calorie food. But beware; this “pie plant” is notoriously prepared with sugar to offset its sourness, which in turn offsets its low calorie content. This versatile vegetable is commonly used in pies, cakes, muffins, breads, cookies, jams, and jellies.
Whether you’re planning to grow rhubarb yourself or pick it up at the market this summer, choose stalks that are medium in size as they’re generally more tender, while their larger counterparts may be stringy. Remember to remove the leaves, which are high in oxalic acid; a toxic substance that shouldn’t be consumed. The stalks will keep for a few days in the refrigerator or can be cut into one-inch pieces and frozen raw.
Check out these recipes using Rhubarb:
Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp http://eatingrichly.com/06/healthy-strawberry-rhubarb-crisp-recipe/
Farm Girl Cosmos (with rhubarb syrup) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/farm-girl-cosmo_n_1061318.html
Strawberry Rhubarb Pie http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/strawberry_rhubarb_pie.html
Strawberry Rhubarb Fruit Bars http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/strawberry_rhubarb_bars.html