Rhubarb is a wonderful gem in the garden. Something you plant once, forget about and it keeps giving and giving. One of those amazing perennials that survive swathes of neglect and forgetfulness. There have been many unresolved arguments over time whether it is a fruit or vegetable. It has the look of something out of the dinosaur era, and hell, even the name conjures up the images of doilies, knitting and tea cups. Even the name sounds old fashioned! But wait……this strange plant is amazing! It can be used raw in smoothies, stewed or it can be used in bakes.
This is a real beauty in the garden. Buy a plant from the local farmers market or garden retailer and plant it in the garden. It isn’t fussy and I have one in full sun, while two other plants grown in part shade and they all do very well. It grows lovely green or red-tinged thick stems, with great big umbrella-like leaves, I mean, the leaves are sometimes big enough to use as an umbrella! Don’t try to eat the leaves though, they’re poisonous. You chop the leaves off and only use the stems for eating. Apparently you can use the leaves to boil up a brew of insect repelling spray. Below is my favourite recipe. One can use less or more sugar, according to one’s taste.
Rhubarb Compote Recipe
3-4 cups of rhubarb stems, chopped
1 cup of raw brown sugar
Juice of one lemon
Throw all the ingredients into a pot and cover with a lid. Stir occasionally to ensure the sugar doesn’t stick or burn on the bottom. Boil the compote until the rhubarb stem pieces soften. They can be bottled in sterilised bottles and kept for later, or they can be refrigerated and eaten for breakfast with a dash of yoghurt (or cashew cream). The flavour is a sweet, tart delicious treat (and did I mention how healthy rhubarb is?).
Health Benefits include;
- Calcium (for healthy bones and teeth, 1 cup has 10% required daily amount)
- Lutein (for healthy skin and eyes)
- Vitamin K (for essential blood clotting)
- Antioxidants (to prevent disease)
- Fibre (keeps one moving in the right direction….)
Sometimes I also use my ready-made rhubarb compote to make another treat…..Rhubarb and Ginger Slice, Yum!
Rhubarb and Ginger Slice Recipe
- 174g butter or coconut oil (3/4 cup)
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 1/4 cup plain flour
- 1/2 tspn Baking Soda
- 2 tspn ground ginger
- 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
- 2 cups lightly cooked rhubarb
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Beat butter (or coconut oil) and sugar till light and creamy. Mix in flour, baking soda, ginger and oats.
Press half mixture into greased 20x30cm slice pan. Cover with cooked fruit, then crumble remaining base mixture over the top. Bake slice for 35 mins till golden. Cool and then slice into rectangles or squares.