Have you noticed the large red celery-like stalks in the produce aisle of your grocery store in early spring? Wondering what they could be?
It’s rhubarb, the quintessential local food. Rhubarb is primarily available only when it is fresh and in season (early spring).
Rhubarb resembles a celery stalk with unusually large green leaves. It has been used as a medicinal herb for thousands of years, and only recently (in the past 400 years) made its way to our plates. The stalk of the rhubarb plant is tart, and likely this tartness became edible with the invention of sugar.
Rhubarb is popularly eaten cooked and in desserts – delicious in pies, muffins, tarts and crisps. Or eaten cooked in jams and spreads. I’ve also seen rhubarb sorbet, ice cream and even rhubarb punch. For a great rhubarb recipe, try my Delicious Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp.
Although often paired with sweet foods and fruits, rhubarb is actually a vegetable belonging to the buckwheat (not wheat) family.
The Many Health Benefits of Rhubarb Include:
- Excellent detoxification properties
- Cooling for the liver
- Relief for constipation
- Relieves hot flashes in peri-menopausal women
- High in vitamins, C, A, potassium
- High in lutein, which is great for the skin and eyes
- Calcium rich
- Improves blood circulation
- The compounds giving rhubarb its rich, red color are high in antioxidants
Selecting and Storing:
For the best flavor and nutrient density, buy rhubarb stalks in early spring. The sweetest stalks tend to be smaller and brighter in color.
Refrigerate the stalks in a plastic bag. They will last a few days.
Your Simple Action Plan:
Check your local market this week for rhubarb. Rhubarb stalks are a seasonal find! If you see them, make sure to grab a bunch!
Because of its detoxifying benefits, rhubarb is included in CLEAN, this season’s signature detox. Get energized, lose weight naturally, clear your mind, and end the sluggishness with a delicious menu of seasonal foods to support you.
A Note on Rhubarb:
Rhubarb is high in oxalic acid. It’s a great food to eat in moderation, and not recommended for people with oxalate sensitivities, calcium oxalate kidney stones, or those with the inability to properly absorb calcium.