Monday, May 13, 2013

Love It or Hate It - Rhubarb

I had a very nice Mother's Day this year - hope you did as well.  My youngest daughter had me over for breakfast and then back again for dinner.  My son and his family also came so it was nice to have them there.  My oldest daughter couldn't make it because her significant other had a cold that he didn't want to share with the rest of the family,  so they just stayed home.  It would have been nice to see them as well but I really have had all the winter colds and flu that I can handle this year so it was probably for the best.

So it's that time of year - time to chop down those big juicy stalks of Rhubarb overtaking that corner in your yard.

Rhubarb is definitely an acquired taste.  I have found that either people love it or hate it there really isn't an in between.   However, I have also found that usually their love/hate relationship is from trying it as a kid, one bite straight from the stalk.   When in reality had they tried it in a pie, cake, crisp or in a sweet and sour sauce over pork they probably would have loved it.

There is an awesome website where you can find all the information you have ever wanted to know along with some incredible recipes pertaining to Rhubarb it's called "The Rhubarb Compendium".

Rhubarb is a perennial vegetable plant that once established will grow profusely for many, many years.  Only the stalks of the plant are eaten the leaves are actually considered poisonous and can cause swelling of the throat and tongue which can result in not being able to breath.  Very similar to an anaphylactic  attack. 

The stalks themselves can be used in many different recipes from sweet to savory it's actually quite a versatile plant.  It can be preserved, frozen, dried or canned with excellent results which makes it a perfect food for those that like to stock up.

Nutritionally each stalk of rhubarb packs a pretty good punch: (information taken from The Rhubarb Compendium)

Rhubarb contains a fair source of potassium, and is low in sodium. Rhubarb's crisp sour stalks are rich in vitamin C, dietary fiber and calcium, although the calcium is combined with oxalic acid and so is not easily absorbed by the body. Rhubarb is somewhat acidic (pH 3.1-3.2) but in most recipes this is normally offset by sugar. One cup diced Rhubarb contains about 26 calories.

Rhubarb Nutritional Information

Rhubarb Nutritional Information
Calories 20  
Calories from fat 0 % Daily Value*
Total Fat 0 g 0%
Saturated Fat 0 g 0%
Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
Sodium 0 mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 4 g 1%
Dietary Fiber 2 g 6%
Sugars 1 g  
Protein 1 g  
Vitamin A   0%
Vitamin C   10%
Calcium   8%
Iron   0%
Serving Size : 2/3 cup (85g)

Rhubarb has been used to balance the digestive system as well as several other health claims.

Me personally - I love it!  I used to pick it from the garden as a child, dip the stalk in a little sugar and chew away.  The sweet and sour mixture was always something I loved.  My grandpa would make the most delicious strawberry pies and crumbles and every Sunday we would find a big bowl of rhubarb sauce waiting for us which you could eat straight from the bowl like apple sauce or serve slightly warm over vanilla ice cream it was always so good.

I have altered my grandpa's recipe to make it more "carb" friendly but still yummy!

Grandpa's Rhubarb Sauce (reinvented)

4 cups rhubarb (chopped small)
3/4 cup Splenda
1 1/2 cups water
1 pkg. light strawberry Jello

Cook the rhubarb, water & Jello in a sauce pan until the rhubarb is soft and breaks up easily.  Remove from the burner and stir in Jello.  Stir until Jello is completely dissolved.  Pour into serving dish and refrigerate.  You can serve slightly warm over sugar free ice cream or my favorite is eating it ice cold like apple sauce.  If you don't want to use "reinvented version" just replace the Splenda with white sugar and the "light" Jello for the normal Jello.  I have also noticed that this recipe works and tastes best using the "Jello" brand versus other brands of gelatin desserts.  I'm not sure why but it just thickens the sauce better and the taste is far superior.  

My grandfather would usually double or triple this recipe when he made it because the whole family would get together every Sunday at my grandparents house and everyone loved it!

Here's another recipe that I have adjusted to suit my taste.  Yummy!

Low Carb Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble

photo from

3 cups rhubarb chopped
2 cups strawberries chopped
1/2 pkg strawberry Jello

Mix the three ingredients together in a bowl until well mixed.  Spray an 8x8 cake pan with cooking spray and spread the mixture evenly in the pan.

1/3 cup flaxseed meal
1/3 cup almond flour
1/3 cup coconut flour
1/3 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
1/3 cup chopped almonds/walnuts/pecans (whatever you prefer)
2 tablespoons of Splenda or 2 teaspoons of Stevia
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
4 tablespoons melted butter or margarine (again your preference - mine is butter)

Mix all the topping ingredients together with fingers until it resembles a coarse meal type texture and sprinkle evenly over the rhubarb filling. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 - 40 minutes  (oven temperatures vary) filling should be bubbly and topping should be a nice golden brown. Sometimes the topping can brown very quickly so keep an eye on it.  If it looks like it's getting too dark cover your pan with tinfoil and continue cooking.

Can be served warm or cold. I like mine ice cold with a sugar free ice cream or whip cream topping.  Makes 9 servings.

Tomorrow my other favorite crop for this time of year - Asparagus!  Another Love/Hate veggie for people lol!

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