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Rhubarb- The Vegetable That You May Not Know

on April 26, 2012

This week is all about fruits and veggies that are in season, so today we are talking about rhubarb.  Growing up, both my parents and grandparents had rhubarb overflowing from their gardens, so it comes as no surprise that one of my favorite comfort foods since I was a child has been my grandmother’s rhubarb crunch.  Whenever I mention rhubarb to people, most have heard of it but have never tried it or honestly have no idea what I am talking about.  Unfortunately rhubarb is not readily available in all super markets.  The best place to find it is at your local farmer’s market, however larger markets may carry it as well!

Rhubarb is a vegetable, however most consider it to be a fruit.  It is similar to cranberries in that rhubarb is extremely tart which is why you should not eat it raw and requires a bit of sugar, honey or juice to help take the acidity out.  Rhubarb is an excellent substitute for cranberries in recipes since the tartness of both are quite similar.  In the fall, I love making stuffed baked apples and have used rhubarb in them in place of the cranberries and they were amazing!  The great thing about rhubarb is that it will keep in the fridge for up to 3 weeks(if trimmed) and can be frozen also.  It is an excellent source of fiber, Vitamin’s C and K, Calcium, and Potassium.

Rhubarb is easy to prepare, all you need to do is cut off and discard and leaves. Rinse and trim from base and tip. You may peel or cut with the skin intact. Remember to cook only in non-aluminum pots only due to the acidic nature of rhubarb.

**Important, never eat the leaves of rhubarb raw or cooked as they are extremely toxic, so if you are cooking rhubarb around children or pets, remember to dispose right away to avoid them taking the leaves.

Here is the original recipe for my grandmother’s rhubarb crunch.  You can substitute the sugar for the sauce with agave nectar and sugar if you desire.

Rhubarb Crunch

4 cups chopped rhubarb

1 1/4 cups flour

1 cup oats

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar

1/2 cup melted butter

Sauce:

1 cup sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 cup cold water

1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Chop rhubarb and set aside.  Mix together the flour, oats, cinnamon, brown sugar and melted butter.

2. Press one-half of crumb mixture into a buttered 7″x11″ or 8.5″x11″ baking dish.

3. Sauce: Whisk sugar, cornstarch and water together in a glass bowl.  Microwave until thick, clear, and bubbly, approximately 3-5 minutes.  Remove from microwave and whisk in vanilla.  Add chopped rhubarb atop pressed-in crumb mixture in the baking dish.  Pour sugar sauce evenly over rhubarb.

4. Top with remaining crumb mixture.  Bake at 350 degrees until edges are bubbling and crumb topping is browned, about 30-40 minutes.

Source:

http://www.fruitsandveggiesmatter.gov/month/rhubarb.html

 

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2 responses to “Rhubarb- The Vegetable That You May Not Know

  1. Colleen says:

    I LOVE rhubarb! And I am so sad that I cannot find it anywhere out here in California! I asked at the Farmer’s Market and they looked at me like I was crazy! I actually had my mom ship me some from our yard in Illinois. I have a few planted in my backyard now, but they are not big enough to harvest anything from yet. I just couldn’t believe that the state that produces most of our strawberries doesn’t do rhubarb to go with them… This is one of my favorite Spring Veggies!

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