Rhubarb orginated in Russia and was used for medicinal purposes only until the 18th century. It is really a vegetable relative of sorrel but is treated as a fruit because of its use in desserts and sweets.
Selection, Storage and Availability
Rhubarb is available all year round in Australia but can differ in size and colour. Generally look for redder stalks as they are sweeter than green stalks. Look for rhubarb sold in bunches that are crisp and upright. Remove the leaves and store raw or cooked in the refrigerator. Cooked rhubarb can be frozen.
The leaves of the rhubarb are poisonous so use the stalks only. Rhubarb by itself is bitter so adding sugar before eating is necessary. Wash stalks and cut into approximately 3cm lengths and cook with a little water until soft, add sugar to taste. Rhubarb can be cooked in a little orange or apple juice instead of sugar. Cooked rhubarb can be pureed for a smoother texture. Serve cooked rhubarb with yoghurt for breakfast, make a rhubarb pie or cake or make into an icecream.
Rhubarb is very low in Saturated Fat, Cholesterol and Sodium. It is also a good source of Potassium, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Calcium, Magnesium and Manganese.