A little backgrounder or is it a little backyarder?
As one of the official harbingers of spring, rhubarb is on my list of “I’m so excited to be eating what’s growing in my backyard ” Technically its growing in my neighbour’s backyard……..but, thankfully, they share it with me. Luckily for everyone concerned this has obliterated the stealth missions in the middle of the night armed with a flashlight.
Super tart and bordering on sour you need a lot of sweetness to make the stalks edible, but never ever try to eat the leaves – they’re toxic.
Field versus hot house. The stalks of field rhubarb vary from shades of green to deep ruby red depending on the variety, hot house tends to be more pink.
How to pick and store
As with all vegetables or fruits that have a stalk look for crisp, firm ones. And like all super models perky counts – look for perky leaves to ensure freshness.
To store wrap the stalks in damp paper towels and place in a plastic bag for up to one week in the fridge. Or chop into 1-inch (2.5 cm) pieces and freeze for up to one year.
Rhubarb boasts a host of beneficial nutrients, its high in fibre, it also contains vitamin C plus it contains lutein and zeaxanthin for healthy eyes.
Have any dingy looking stainless steel pots? According to the Rhubarb Compendium you can use rhubarb to clean them, no elbow grease required. Just boil up some chopped rhubarb with water in a pan and it will come clean. They suggest: An application of rhubarb over the afflicted area will bring back the shine in next to no time. Environmentally friendly too!
Rhubarb with Ginger and Honey
As a fan of trying to reduce the amount of sugar we have in our diets this version of stewed rhubarb is tart with a big hint of ginger.
If you want a sweeter version increase the honey to 1 cup (250 mL).
7 cups (1.75 L) chopped rhubarb
½ cup (125 mL) chopped dried ginger
½ cup (125 mL) liquid local honey
- Place the rhubarb, ginger and honey into a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir together until the honey melts and the rhubarb starts to soften.
- Bring to the boil, reduce to simmer and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the rhubarb is very tender and has thickened, about 10-15 minutes.(My version is thicker than most stewed rhubarbs – if it is watery it will make the Rhubarb Squares -see recipe below – soggy)
- Pour into two-2 cup (500 mL) glass jars and screw on the lid. Cool and store in the fridge for up to 6 days or you can freeze it in freezer safe containers for up to 6 months.
- Use in the recipe for Rhubarb Squares (see below) or serve it over 0% MF Greek style yogurt.
Makes – approx. 4 cups (1 L) to make 8 – ½ cup (125 mL) servings
Nutrient breakdown per ½ cup (125 mL) = 110 calories, 0 g fat, 6 mg sodium, 41 g carbs, 1.5 g fibre, 0.75 g protein
My taste buds and I love the combination of sweet and tart which makes this one of my favourite spring desserts. Watch the portion size – this makes a wee dessert, remember size matters.
Tip: Make the Rhubarb with Ginger and Honey the night before.
1 cup (250 mL) whole wheat flour
2 cups (500 mL) large oat flakes
1 cup (250 mL) brown sugar
2 tsp (10 mL) cinnamon
½ cup + 1 tbsp (135 mL) canola oil
1 ½ cups (375 mL) Rhubarb with Ginger and Honey (see recipe above)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line an 8-inch (2-L) metal pan with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl mix together the whole wheat flour, oat flakes, brown sugar and the cinnamon.
- Pour in the oil and mix together with a fork until the flour mixture looks wet sand.
- Pour half of this mixture into the prepared pan and pat down.
- Pour in Rhubarb with Ginger and Honey and then spread evenly, leaving a tiny edge of bottom crust showing.
- Spoon over the rest of the flour mixture over top, even out and lightly press down.
- Bake for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely before cutting it into 16 pieces.
Makes – 16 – 2 inches x 2 inches squares
Each square contains: 221 Calories, 8 g Total Fat, 0.75 g Sat Fat, 0 g Trans Fat, 2 mg Sodium, 30 g Carbs, 4 g Fibre, 4 g Protein.