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Taking Stock of Rhubarb

Taking Stock of Rhubarb

For winter weary gardeners, rhubarb is a welcome edible making its first appearance in the spring and continuing throughout the early summer.  While many of our local farms markets sell it at their stands you may be lucky enough to be able to harvest from you own backyard patch like I do.  Perhaps you have pondered whether rhubarb is a fruit or vegetable.  Technically it is a vegetable and a close relative of buckwheat and sorrel.  But in 1947 a court reclassified it as a fruit in order to lower the tariffs and make it less costly. It can be used in both sweet and savoury dishes and pairs well with berries, apples, cinnamon and ginger. 

Rhubarb has been used by the Chinese for medical purposes for thousands of years.  It is especially rich in antioxidants, is high in fibre and loaded with vitamin C and calcium.  However, only the stalks are edible.  The leaves are poisonous because they contain toxic levels of oxalic acid.  Rhubarb stocks can be rinsed and stored in a loose plastic bag in the refrigerator for 2-4 weeks.

Here is my favourite rhubarb recipe that is dead easy and guaranteed foolproof. As the seasons change you can substitute and combine other fruits.     

Anna’s Rhubarb Cake

  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 cups chopped rhubarb
  • 2 cups flour (I recommend whole wheat)
  • 1 1/4 cups white sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • Cinnamon, brown sugar & chopped walnuts for topping

Mix wet ingredients and dry ingredients separately.  Add wet to dry and stir until just blended.  Pour into greased 9 x13” pan.  Sprinkle brown sugar and cinnamon on top.  Bake in 350 degree oven for 40 minutes or until done.

 

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