There has always been a place in my heart for rhubarb one of the most tart plants in the garden. Some say it is a fruit,some say an herb, others a vegetable. I think of it as a perineal vegetable similar to asparagus. I'm sentimental about rhubarb because my father had a beautiful garden where he raised asparagus and rhubarb. Every evening this time of year we would take a knife and metal colander and go out to this garden to cut the amount we wanted for Dinner. It was a matter of minutes before a platter of beautiful steamed asparagus was on the table. Also growing in abundance in May were peonies, so many beautiful peonies. We would cut an armful the dip the flowers in cold water to remove the ants who lived in the layers of soft pink and white petals. Back to the rhubarb....
I am featuring Rhubarb Pie this week because it deserves a place in the spotlight. Following is an excerpt on the many health benefits of this cousin to the sorrel .
Rhubarb is a member of the Polygonaceae family, a group of flowering plants.
It has short, thick stalks with large triangular-shaped leaves. Its thick-red stalks, which have a resemblance to celery, are actually the only edible part of this plant. Other parts, particularly the leaves of Rhubarb, contain a high concentration of oxalic acid, which is not recommended for people with history of kidney problems.
Rhubarb is a seasonal plant and thrives in warm climates. In the cold season, harvesting fresh rhubarb is almost impossible, since the freezing temperature withers away the above portion of the plant
Rhubarb stalks are rich in important vitamins, such as vitamin A, C, K and the B vitamins.
They are also found to be a great source of dietary fiber, high antioxidants, and essential minerals, including potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, copper and phosphorus.
Rhubarb has been used since ancient days, for remedy of many ailments. Recent studies show that it is also useful for preventing many chronic diseases:
Alzheimer’s Disease: Rhubarb contains a substantial amount of Vitamin K which is useful for the brain. Adequate amount of this vitamin can limit the neuronal damage in the brain. This is beneficial for preventing and delay Alzheimer’s Disease.
Anti-ageing: The high amounts of antioxidants in rhubarb helps fight free radicals that cause pre-mature ageing. Vitamin C in this vegetable is necessary for the synthesis of collagen that prevents premature wrinkles and sagging skin.
Anti-inflammation: Rhubarb promotes blood circulation, thus also helps relieve pains in cases of injury, and reduce inflammation.
Bone Strength: Vitamin K found in rhubarb stalk is also essential for bone development, thus, great for individuals who are at risk of osteoporosis and other bone disorders. It is also rich in calcium, a kind of nutrient that is also needed for bone growth and development.
Cancer: A great source of antioxidants, rhubarb becomes one of the many vegetables helping to fight and prevent cancer development.
Cholesterol: Rhubarb contains low-levels of sodium and saturated-fats, which is beneficial for naturally lowering high cholesterol levels.
Constipation: The roots and stems of this plant have been found to have anthraquinone, a compound that is a natural laxative, which is helpful for digestion. Individuals suffering from constipation, diarrhea or IBS, should include rhubarb in their diet.
Digestive Health: The astringent property in rhubarb makes it a great tonic for digestive health, improves peristaltic movements, prevents intestinal health issues, loosen stools and helps ease chronic constipation.
Diabetes: Studies show that rhubarb is rich in a compound called stilbenoid that helps lower blood sugar levels.
Immunity: Rhubarb is an excellent source of Vitamin C, that helps build the body’s immune system.
Gallbladder Health: Rhubarb has cholagogue properties that promote bile production for good digestive health.
I am happy to offer Rhubarb Pie and suggest the crumb topping. Rhubarb is great alone and also combines well with just about any fruit. The tart quality is an excellent finish after seafood, BBQ, and most main courses. I suggest a slice in the afternoon with a vase of peonies on the table( no ants,) a good book or time to visit with a friend. For me just enjoying the pie is a visit in itself, a piece of nostalgia.