As summer fruits are still ripening, taste the marvelous, special flavor of Rhubarb!
See my favorite Rhubarb recipes and a savory new one: Rhubarb and Goat Cheese Bruschetta
I have a special place in my heart for Rhubarb… ready to pick now through summer. My grandparents had plentiful rhubarb plants sprawling in their garden, and rhubarb pie was typically served after dinner. This beautiful ruby hued perennial has a flavor that is distinctive, tart and heavenly scented.
Rhubarb: The pretty pink plant is tasty, puckery, and perfect for dessert recipes ~ offers a gorgeous color and addictive flavor. One of my favorite ingredients to work with; balances well with Strawberries.
This week I developed two new savory recipes ~ Rhubarb and Goat Cheese Bruschetta over a salad with Rhubarb & Shallot Vinaigrette. The tartness of the Rhubarb balances nicely with the tang of the goat cheese, and earthiness of the fresh herbs in the Bruschetta. The Vinaigrette adds a toasted, mellow shallot essence and a hint ground cloves to the lettuce leaves. Make the easy Rhubarb Vinegar, which is special!
I grew up enthralled with my grandparents fruit and vegetable garden and remember the huge crimson colored rhubarb stalks with elephant-ear shaped leaves (which are cut away because they are poisonous.) Back then, we ate stewed rhubarb with a dose of sugar and orange juice. It was a wonderful treat at the end of a meal. The flavor still lingers with me today.
Rhubarb is one of those flavors that is deliciously addicting. For those of you who have experienced it’s earthy yet tangy taste – it can not be compared to any other fruit! Botanically speaking, Rhubarb is considered a vegetable, but it’s most often treated as a fruit. The growing season is from April to October, yet it’s stalks will wilt in the field if the weather gets too warm in the summer.
Rhubarb is also used for medicinal purposes in traditional Chinese and medieval Arabian and European medicine. The roots of this plant have been used as a laxative for thousands of years.
One of the main reasons why people cultivate and eat rhubarb is for its astounding nutritional value. Rhubarb is packed with minerals, vitamins, organic compounds, and other nutrients that make it ideal for keeping our bodies healthy.
Rhubarb is a high antioxidant food – At only 26 calories per cup, it contains the powerful free-radical scavenger quercetin, among other potent antioxidants. The stalks contain lots of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients that provide some great health benefits, particularly for your bones.
To prepare: Trim the ends using a paring knife. Wash them in cold running water, gently scrubbing the surface using fingers. Cut stalks into 1/2-inch to 2-inch pieces using a paring knife. Usually, their extreme tartness is somewhat tamed by the addition of sugar. Top greens of rhubarb should be avoided in the cooking.
Rhubarb has a love affair with Strawberries ~ they are in the height of the season together and complement each other’s flavor, texture & color.
It’s a vegetable, after all, and when not doused with sugar, it lends a bright acidity to any number of savory cooked meals.
Uses: Juicing, smoothies, jam, chutney, salsa, compote, toppings, pies, crisps, scones, sorbet, granita, ice cream, chilled soup, bbq sauce… and much more!
Benefits: Eases Digestion, Strengthens Bones, Staves Off Brain Disorders, aids digestive health, reduces stress, can help stimulate healthy cell rejuvenation, lower your risk of developing certain cancers, great source of Vitamin K, (one of the most common nutrients found lacking in the average diet) good source of Calcium, Manganese and Potassium too.
Red colored stems carry more vitamin-A than the green varieties. Further, the stalks also contain small amounts of polyphenolic flavonoid compounds like ß-carotene, zeaxanthin, and lutein. These compounds convert into vitamin-A inside the human body and deliver same protective effects of vitamin-A. Vitamin-A is a powerful natural antioxidant which is required by the body for maintaining the integrity of skin and mucosa. It is also an essential vitamin for healthy eyesight. Research studies suggest that natural foods rich in vitamin-A may help protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.
As in other greens like Kale and spinach – rhubarb stalks also provide proper amounts of vitamin-K. Vitamin-K has a potential role in bone health by promoting osteoblastic (bone formation and strengthening) activity.
Fresh rhubarb stalks can be readily available in the markets from April until August.
Tart to the taste ~ an incredible ingredient to cook as the crimson color and heady perfumy scent stands out.
See my well tested Rhubarb recipes!