Friday, October 2, 2009

Harvesting Fall Rhubarb

I harvested the remaining rhubarb today from the garden box in my front yard edible garden.  All summer I have been picking and having cobblers, pie, stewed rhubarb and thoroughly enjoying it's tart taste.  One of the plants was a gift this year and did extremely well for a transplant.  I expect next year I will have tons of rhubarb and it will overflow the garden box.
A portion of it went to the next door neighbor since she is really a much better baker than I am.  Of course that was for selfish reasons because she always brings me samples.  I always get the better end of the deal for sharing bounty of the garden with Maggie!
So I did my usual go to the web and see what interesting things I could find about rhubarb.  How to Freeze Rhubarb is the most extensive web page I have ever seen on freezing rhubarb and there is no sense in me retelling how to do it. The USDA site on food preservation does recommend heating rhubarb in boiling water for 1 minute and cooling promptly in cold water helps retain color and flavor. I will do that then freeze it for goodies during the winter months. (I ended up with 2 packages of 4 cups and 1 package of 2 cups).

Nutritionally, rhubarb is low in calories and very acidic (pH 3.1). The acid is offset by the addition of sugar in recipes, which also increases the calorie count. Rhubarb is 95 percent water and has potassium and a modest amount of vitamin C,vitamin K, calcium, potassium, manganese and magnesium. Although rhubarb can be tough and stringy, it does not contain a great deal of fiber, only 2 grams per cup. Unfortunately the high calcium content it supplies is bound by oxalic acid and so it is not easily absorbed by the body. Don't count on rhubarb as a source of dietary calcium.
Rhubarb is an ancient plant as well. Chinese rhubarb has been traced back to 2700 BC. According to folklore, Chinese doctors recommended it for its medicinal qualities as a laxative, to reduce fever and cleanse the body. Rumor has it that rhubarb grown in the United States does not have the same medicinal value as "true rhubarb" or Chinese rhubarb. My grandfather would have disputed that.  He swore it made him regular.
Maybe next year I will plant another garden box with more rhubarb.


Elizabeth said...

Always wish I had more time for canning.

The Frugal Fraulein said...

I suggest everyone look at Elizabeth's site by clicking on her name above. She is the Quenn of Rhubarb! Thanks Elizabeth your site is a cornocopia of rhubarb lore.

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