Good Morning Friends.
No I haven't completely lost my mind. I actually found out some pretty amazing facts this weekend about a plant that I'm sure everyone has in there back yard garden. It's the lowly rhubarb plant. For years rhubarb has been seen as the impossible to eat plant. I know most people will only ever eat it with strawberries...Hello strawberry/ rhubarb pie...But did you know that there is actually health benefits to this amazing plant? I know I sure didn't. So let me share with you what I learnt.
According to the USDA, rhubarb provides dietary fiber, protein, vitamin C, vitamin K, B complex vitamins, calcium, potassium, and magnesium. In terms of organic compounds, the plant also contains beta-carotene (which can be enzymatically converted to vitamin A), polyphenols (which can act as antioxidants), lutein, and zeaxanthin.
The health benefits of rhubarb may include its potential ability to promote weight loss, improve digestion, stimulate bone growth, avoid neuronal damage, boost skin health, enhance metabolism, improve circulation, and protect against cardiovascular conditions.
Rhubarb is also used for medicinal purposes in traditional Chinese and medieval Arabian and European medicine. Rhubarb has been suggested to exert eliminating heat, purging fire, treat constipation, cooling blood, treat gastrointestinal bleeding, and other diseases. The roots of this plant have been used as a laxative for thousands of years.
Is there a way to use the rhubarb leaves?
While rhubarb leaves shouldn't be consumed by people or pets because the acid found in the leaves could stop your heart. (YIKES!!!) Rhubarb leaves are still useful... If you have aphids threatening your tomato plants or any other plants. Simply boil the leaves in water in a ratio of 1:3 (1 cup rhubarb leaves to 3 cups water). Boil this mixture down and add a little bit ( like 1 tsp) of dish soap, pour into a spray bottle and wage your war on those pesky bugs. Even though this is a natural pesticide you will want to make sure to wash any foods really well before you consume them. Don't want to make anyone sick now.
So there you go... a little more info on the lowly rhubarb plant. Now on to the good stuff and what you most likely came here for. The recipes!!
Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp,
This one is a family favorite and has been for a couple generations now. Although I've been able to tweak it slightly to use fresh milled einkorn flour and organic cane sugar it is still a HUGE hit.
A summer crisp (we eat it year round here) made with locally grown strawberries and rhubarb with a buttery streusel topping. Serves 9.
5 cups fresh or frozen rhubarb sliced into ½” pieces
3 cups fresh strawberries diced
½ cup granulated sugar (I use organic cane sugar)
½ cup lightly packed brown sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 orange zested
2 tablespoons orange juice
⅓ cup Fresh Milled Einkorn Flour
Oat & Almond Streusel Topping
¾ cup Fresh Milled Einkorn Flour
¾ cup rolled oats (I use Bob’s Red Mill gluten free oats)
¼ cup sliced almonds plus 2 tablespoons more for topping (OPTIONAL)
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup lightly packed brown sugar
½ cup butter 1 stick, cut into small cubes
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease an 8 x 8” baking dish with cooking spray or butter. Place the baking dish on a foil lined baking sheet to catch drippings while baking.
For the filling, in a large bowl combine the rhubarb, strawberries, sugars, cinnamon, orange zest, orange juice and flour. Stir to combine. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish. Set aside.
For the topping, in a large mixing bowl, mix flour, rolled oats, ¼ cup almonds, salt and brown sugar. Add the butter and work in the butter with a pastry cutter or two knives until the butter is incorporated and the mixture forms into coarse loose crumbs. The sliced almonds will crumble into the mix. If necessary, rub the topping between your fingers to break up any clumpy pieces. Sprinkle the topping over the strawberries and rhubarb in the baking dish. Sprinkle top with 2 tablespoons sliced almonds.
Bake for 40 - 45 minutes until the topping is golden-brown and the fruit is bubbly. If the almonds are browning quickly, place a sheet of foil paper lightly overtop of the crisp. Remove from oven and allow crisp to set for 30 minutes or longer before serving.
WAIT!!! There's another recipe.
Simple Stewed Rhubarb
This 3 ingredient stewed rhubarb is easy to make and is ready in minutes, making it a wonderful last minute dessert. It’s great served over vanilla ice cream, on pancakes or on it’s own!
6 cups chopped fresh rhubarb
1 cup sugar ( I use Organic Cane Sugar)
2 tbsp. water
1/4 tsp cinnamon.
In a saucepan, combine the rhubarb, sugar, water and cinnamon.
Simmer over low-medium heat for about 15 minutes, or until all the sugar has dissolved and the rhubarb has broken down.
So there you have it! A little more knowledge for your Monday. I truly love sharing these types of things with you. If you want to see more and learn more sign up for our newsletter and keep an eye out in your inbox. Now that the growing season is upon us I will be sharing more ways to prepare fresh fruit and veggies. Have a fantastic week and I will see you back here Next Monday with hopefully a baby chick update.