Rhubarb season is coming! Have you ever tried homemade rhubarb sauces? They are so tasty and healthy. You could spread them on toast or use them as chicken or turkey stuffing. One of my favorite rhubarb sauces is rhubarb strawberry sauce, and I top it on my yogurt, yummy!
Rhubarb is an easy-to-grow vegetable. This vegetable is commonly used in making desserts or as an ingredient in dishes. However, when it comes to cooking this vegetable, the only part that can be used is the stem. That is because its leaves have a bitter taste and contains toxic substances including oxalic acid.
The history of rhubarb began in China, Siberia, Himalayas and Mongolia. Rhubarb root can survive even in frozen grounds. People started using the plant for medicinal purposes. Rhubarb is an important Chinese medicinal herb and has been commonly used as a laxative. Back in 2700 B.C., Rhubarb was included in Pen Khing’s herbal list. However, this account has been disputed since it is difficult to verify the information due to the age of the document. Based on the gathered information, it showed that even before the B.C. period, rhubarb root was already being exported from Asia. Documents indicate that Asian countries were already using rhubarb for medicinal purposes starting from the Han period.
Rhubarb has been utilized for many years and it is only in recent times people started to use it as food. In fact, the first time rhubarb was featured and used in a recipe was in 1806 or 1807, and it was used in making a rhubarb tart.
Nutrition fact of rhubarb
|Rhubarb (Rheum rhabarbarum), fresh,
Nutritive value per 100 g.
(Source: USDA National Nutrient database)
|Principle||Nutrient Value||Percentage of RDA|
|Total Fat||0.20 g||1%|
|Dietary Fiber||1.8 g||5%|
|Pantothenic Acid||0.085 mg||1.5%|
|Vitamin A||102 IU||3.5%|
|Vitamin C||8 mg||13%|
|Vitamin E||0.27 mg||2%|
|Vitamin K||29.3 µg||24%|
Rhubarb is now considered to be a superfood. It is very low in calories, which makes it very appealing to those who are looking for healthy food for weight loss. It also has a high level of calcium that supports bone health. Plus, it is rich in fiber, helping to reduce blood cholesterol levels. Rhubarb contains many health properties and some of these properties include:
Promotes weight loss: Rhubarb is one of the vegetables that contain the least calories. 100 g of fresh petioles have only 21 calories. It contains a type of antioxidant called polyphenols including catechins, which are the same chemicals in green tea. Many studies suggest that catechins promote fat burning process by speeding up metabolism. In addition, rhubarb is low in glycemic index and high in fiber, which prolongs the sense of fullness, stabilizes blood sugar and reduces hunger. Fiber also helps regular bowel function, which is absolutely necessary for healthy weight loss. In addition, rhubarb contains anthraquinones – rhein and emodin, which have laxative properties.
Seaweed is another super food for weight loss.
Powerful Antioxidant Properties: Due to its richness in anthraquinones and Vitamin C, both are potent anti-oxidants, rhubarb is capable of eliminating free radicals in your body. The Antioxidants – lycopene and anthocyanins that give rhubarb a vibrant red color are also powerful antioxidants that can benefit your heart, eyes, and immune system, and they also delay the aging process. Cooked rhubarb supplies a decent amount of lycopene while raw rhubarb lacks lycopene.
To learn more about foods rich in anti-oxidant, read A Super Charged Anti-aging Diet-Part One.
Anti-cancer Properties: The anthraquinones from rhubarb have anti-cancer properties. Researchers indicate that anthraquinones not only inhibit the growth of cancer cells but also kill cancer cells. These properties can prevent the occurrence of metastases, which are secondary cancers caused by primary cancer. The rich content of lycopene in cooked rhubarb can delay the inception of lung and oral cavity cancers in those who use carcinogenic agents such as tobacco.
Want to know about other amazing anti-cancer foods? Check A Super Charged Anti-aging Diet-Part Two
Lowers blood cholesterol: Rhubarb stalk has a high level of fiber and galloyl-ester, which is a cholesterol inhibiting chemical. Fiber is known to remove excess cholesterol from the walls of your blood vessels and arteries, lowering your blood cholesterol and improving your blood cholesterol profile. Therefore, including rhubarb in your diet will benefit your heart function.
Chia seeds are another amazing food to help improve your blood cholesterol.
Improves vision: Rhubarb stalks also contain polyphenolic flavonoids such as β-carotene, zeaxanthin, and lutein. These compounds are converted into Vitamin A by the human body. Lutein and Vitamin A are powerful natural antioxidants that help maintain the integrity of your skin and eyes. Your skin and eyes are the main organs of your body that are exposed to the environment. Lutein helps neutralize free radicals and delays the aging process. The regular intake of rhubarb stalks helps to delay the onset of various eye diseases.
Stabilizes Blood Clotting: Another important vitamin in rhubarb is Vitamin K. Vitamin K is necessary for normal blood clotting, and it also plays a significant role in brain and neuronal health. Low levels of vitamin K can affect blood coagulation, and also weaken bones and promote calcification of arteries and other soft tissues. Include Vitamin K rich foods such as rhubarb and green leafy vegetables not only help regulate your blood coagulation but also benefit your bone health.
Improves bone health: Rhubarb provides a good combination of calcium, Vitamin K and other minerals that help in the formation and strengthening of bones.
How to select and store rhubarb?
When you buy rhubarb from the markets, avoid those with bruises or blemishes on the surface of the stalks. Choose fresh and firm stalks with bright colors. Rhubarb variations include red, pink and green. The red stalks tend to be sweeter.
Rhubarb stalks are easy to freeze so can be enjoyed all year around. Fresh rhubarb stalks stay fresh for about 2-3 weeks in the fridge. Rhubarb is easy to grow and worth growing in your garden. This way, you will have a supply of the vegetable all year round and can enjoy rhubarb’s amazing health benefits.
How to enjoy rhubarb in many ways?
Raw rhubarb: You can use raw rhubarb in your fruit salads or sprinkle diced rhubarb cubes over your yogurt or cereal. Due to its sour taste, it is better to pair it with sweet food such as strawberries.
Roasted rhubarb: You can roast rhubarb cubes on a baking sheet and drizzle with a bit honey or sprinkle with a pinch of coconut sugar. Roast for about five minutes, and then mix them with other greens, nuts and herbs to make a delicious salad.
Rhubarb and fruit smoothie: Add rhubarb diced along with other fruits such as berries in your smoothie recipes.
Rhubarb sauce: This is my favorite recipe and it is easy to make. Mix rhubarb chunks with strawberries cubes and cook them together until the texture is even, stirring continuously. Add half a cup of water to avoid burning at the bottom. You can also add some finely chopped ginger and a bit of coconut sugar towards the end to enhance the flavor. Rhubarb sauces can be used on yogurt or other desserts.
Rhubarb jam: You can make homemade strawberry-rhubarb jam, ginger-rhubarb jam or blueberry-rhubarb jam. Such combination will make your jams healthier with more varieties.
Rhubarb vegetable juice: add some rhubarb in your juicer, along with celery, carrots, beets, a few garlic cloves and a piece of ginger. This healthy vegetable juice has an amazing detox power. It helps to keep your body clean and enhances your immune system as well.
Rhubarb pie:Strawberry-rhubarb pie is one of the most popular pies. You can also make other rhubarb pies such as rhubarb raspberry pie, rhubarb banana pie, rhubarb cherry pie, rhubarb peach pie or rhubarb pineapple pie…let your imagination fly.
Delicious and healthy rhubarb recipes
Rhubarb fruit salad with feta cheese
Ingredients: (3 servings)
- Apple (cored and diced): 1
- Peach (sliced): 1
- Pineapple (cored and sliced): 1 cup
- Blueberries (fresh or frozen): ½ cup
- Fresh strawberries (hulled and halved): 10
- Orange (sectioned): 1
- Seedless grapes (halved): 15
- Rhubarb (thinly sliced): 3 cups
- Coconut sugar: ¼ cup
- Water: ½ cup
- Sesame seeds: 1tbsp.
- Feta cheese (cut into squares): 6 oz.
- In a medium saucepan, add the water and sugar, and bring to boil over medium heat. Stir in the rhubarb, turns to low heat, cover, and simmer about 10 to 15 minutes until the rhubarb is soft. Mash the rhubarb and chill it in the refrigerator for one hour.
- In a large bowl, mix the grapes, orange, strawberries, apple, peach, pineapple, blueberries and feta cheese with 2/3 cup of the rhubarb sauce. Stir gently. Drizzle with sesame seeds on top. Leave it in the refrigerator for at least two hours to allow the flavors to blend before serving.
What are your favorite rhubarb recipes? Please share with us.
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- Huang Q, Lu G, et al. Anti-cancer properties of anthraquinones from rhubarb. Med Res Rev. 2007 Sep; 27(5):609-30.
- Musa-Veloso K, Card JW, Wong AW, Cooper DA. Influence of observational study design on the interpretation of cancer risk reduction by carotenoids. Nutr Rev. 2009 Sep; 67(9):527-45.
“The doctor of the future will give no medication, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, diet and in the cause and prevention of disease. ”~Thomas A Edison