Rhubarb ~ Super Vegetables
Did you know that the tart tang can be tamed by almost anything sweet, and in turn it actually enhances the flavors of other foods.
The classic pairing is with strawberries, but it also brings out the best in citrus.
This is why you’ll often see it cropping up in recipes that find a delicious balance in the interplay of sweet and sour.
On the herbal side, it's especially good buddies with ginger and pie spices like cloves and allspice.
For its diuretic and anti-inflammatory properties and has long been used in natural medicine.
But perhaps of more interest, it's low in calories, yet high in calcium (almost a third of your recommended daily amount) and potassium, plus plenty of vitamins, minerals, fiber, folate and iron.
All in all, it's excellent and anytime is the time to enjoy it.
Botanically, it's a vegetable.
Related to celery, it has long, ribbed, red stalks which are crisp when raw, but cook down into a better-than-it-looks thick mash that’s perfect for preserves, relishes, chutneys and sauces.
The red stalks are evidence of the immune-boosting anthocyanin pigments.
Some harder to find varieties, such as ‘Early Champagne,’ have green stalks (they taste similar), but if you want to try those, you’ll probably have to grow them yourself.
Lucky for you: this super vegetable is a cold-hardy perennial, and it’s easy to grow.
Plus, its leaves and roots naturally produce a toxic compound called oxalic acid that helps ward off predators.
(Note: Only the stems are edible.)
This super vegetable stores quite well in the freezer, just wash and cut it into manageable pieces, then store in freezer bags to use until you have access to the fresh variety again.
The most common, and commonly beloved preparation is in classic strawberry-rhubarb pie.
In fact, it's known affectionately as the “pie plant.”
But because you can find hundreds of free recipes online for this favorite pie, you might want to explore a few other culinary possibilities: as an unusual pickle, a tangy salad dressing and a wonderfully unique dessert topping.
But no serious lover would dare snub the strawberry.
If you want to get even more adventurous, try making refreshing effervescent wine or a unique and tasty cocktail.
And here's a great accompaniment for your next dinner!
Combine 1 chopped red bell pepper, 1 lg chopped shallot, 1/2 c. honey, 1/4 c. each golden raisins and cider vinegar, 1 Tbs. each of minced ginger and garlic, 1 tsp. cumin, and 1/4 tsp. each cinnamon and red-pepper flakes in saucepan.
Simmer 5 minutes.
Add 1 lb. coarsely chopped rhubarb (3 1/4 c.) and cook until starting to fall apart, about 2 minutes.
Transfer to bowl and let cool.
Season with salt and pepper.
Stir in 1/2 c. chopped cilantro.
(Makes 4 cups.)
Serve with grilled chicken or pork.
Per serving; 1/4 c.
1 g. protein,
13 g. carbohydrates,
1 g. fiber,
0 g. fat,
0 g. sat fat,
3 mg sodium
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