For the Love of Rhubarb

Great big ornamental leaves.

Rhubarb. It’s a mouth bending tongue twister! You can’t say it without doing a bit of mouth yoga! And it’s also a whole lot more! I have three clumps in the garden. They are one of those beauties, plant once and forget. Year after year they will produce beautiful fibre-rich stalks to keep you going, ‘scuse the pun! They do benefit from a few handsful of compost every Spring. They have great big elephant ear leaves which are a great ornamental look in any garden. But underneath these big monster leaves lies a veritable nutritional feast!

Surrounding the plant with pea straw means there is less likely to be ground splashed onto the stalks.

The leaves are toxic so we chop them off and discard them in the compost bin, but wait….if you have any brassicas left over from your winter crops, place a rhubarb leaf over the head and white butterflies will give them a big berth, the best deterrent ever! Beats running after them with a butterfly net and convincing your neighbours you really are a nutcase!

Chop the stems up into smallish slices and add to pot.

Now I am excited to recently read that rhubarb can be used in savoury dishes, I have yet to try that. Normally I chop the washed stems and pop them into my big 10L pot, add 1 – 1 1/2 cups raw sugar (or sugar substitute if you are sugar free), and the juice of one orange. Simply boiled until the rhubarb breaks down to a kind of slurry. Bottle them or if you think you can eat it all up in less than a week, keep it in a closed container in the fridge.

You can add ginger and orange juice for increased flavour.

Rhubarb just begs for you to let your creative juices flow! Try adding other fruits (I recently added frozen Luisa plums that I had in the freezer), or play around with different tastes, this time round I added gooseberries and chopped ginger. The outcomes will surprise you! This composite then can be enjoyed a number of ways…..

* with a dollop of custard

* a spoonful on top of muesli or porridge

* as a sweet slice treat (see recipe below)

* a big tablespoon served on top of soaked chia pots

Rhubarb reduced to a pulp. Your compote is ready to be bottled.

Health Benefits of Rhubarb

* High in fibre and helps prevent constipation

* Very good source of Vitamin K1 and C

* The fibre assists in lowering cholesterol and promotes digestive health

* It is antioxidant rich, and contains anthrocyanins

* Vit A promotes healthy eyesight and prevents skin ageing

* Vit C helps fight infection and increases immune response

* Vit K1 assists in bone health and strengthens and boosts neuronal health in the brain

* The fibre aids in weight loss

So all good reasons to enjoy rhubarb. The best reason of all…it’s delicious!!

Just bottled in sterilised jars, rhubarb will keep indefinitely on your grocery shelf.

So this amazing vegetable, which we treat more like a fruit, is nutritious and delicious. It’s a humble vegetable that is really taken for granted and not very “vogue” or Instagrammable. Bring it back in to fashion in your own life! Get moving! (Pun intended) Why not grow your own? In the mean time, find some delicious stalks at your local farmers market.

Ka kite ano!


PS. For those of you wanting to make

Rhubarb Ginger slice, here is the recipe:

3/4 cup coconut oil

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 compote

Preheat oven to 180degC. Beat coconut oil and sugar together till light and creamy. Mix in flour, baking soda, ginger and oats.

Press half the mixture into a greased 20 x 30 cm slice pan. Cover with puréed fruit, then crumble remaining mixture over the top.

Bake slice for 35 mins till golden. Cut into squares when cool.

2 thoughts on “For the Love of Rhubarb

  1. Thank you, you have reinspired me to make my rhubarb and strawberry crumble which went down very nicely for NYE. One guy said “there’s nothing wrong with that!” VERY high praise indeed!

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