Rhubarb – The Forgotten Vegetable, Full With Nutrients
Unfortunately, today many people don’t know anything about rhubarb. Which is why we decided to write about this forgotten plant. Rheum rhabarbarum is a perennial, herbaceous plant. It has large leaves and long triangular, fleshy stalk. The flowers are greenish-white and pink-red in color. Even though Rheum rhabarbarum is actually a vegetable, it’s popularly used as a fruit.
For its medicinal properties, rhubarb has been used in China for thousands of years. But, in Europe, it has been brought in the 13th century, by Marco Polo.
The Healing Effects Of Rhubarb
Rhubarb contains a lot of useful acids (malic acid, niacin, pantothenic, folic), minerals (calcium, magnesium, manganese), polyphenols and vitamins (C and B). It has positive effects on the digestive tract, and has long been used as a laxative and medicine against constipation. In smaller doses, it can also help treat diarrhea. This is an ideal vegetable for people who want to lose weight, because it stimulates the metabolism.
Recently, Rheum rhabarbarum has become a new hit among the foods that prevent cancer development. This is because this vegetable is rich in polyphenols, compounds known for their neutralizing effects on cancer cells. What’s interesting is that the levels of polyphenols in rhubarb drastically increase if you bake them. Thus, it is best if you eat this vegetable baked.
The other healing effects of rhubarb include:
- Powerful antioxidant properties
- Anti-allergic and anti-inflammatory properties
- Helps regulate the cholesterol levels
- Improves circulation
- Speeds up metabolism
- A natural remedy against constipation and diarrhea
- Improves the health of the eyes
- Prevents cancer development
- Improves appetite
How To Use Rheum Rhabarbarum For Maximum Effects
In cooking, only the stems of the rhubarb are used, because its leaves are toxic. The stalk has a slightly sour taste, which resembles a sour apple. It can be used to make soup, cabbage rolls, salads, sauces, compotes (especially in early spring, when there are no other vegetables), marmalade and jams. Also, it’s used in the preparation of many desserts.
Cleaned, washed and chopped stems can be stored in the freezer. First, you must wash the vegetable, and then remove the leaves and handles. Cut it into cubes, drain it, and immediately froze it.
When purchasing, choose firm and crisp stalks that look fresh. When you break them, they should release juice. The color of the rhubarb depends on its type and method of cultivation. Pink stalks are the most popular among consumers.
Rheum rhabarbarum should be consumed in 2 to 3 days after purchase. The taste of this vegetable goes very well with strawberries, and in many recipes, it’s used in this precise combination. If you want to treat yourself with an unusual, but delicious salad, use rhubarb and asparagus, or arugula. It tastes fantastic!