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Flourishing Rhubarb

Updated: Apr 4, 2022

My rhubarb is loving all this warm rain. Rhubarb is a great plant to have in the garden as it flourishes all year round (well in Melbourne, Australia at least). It is a gentle cousin of Yellow Dock (Rumex crispus which has a strong laxative action), but with a much milder laxative effect. It makes a lovely gentle remedy (when stewed) for children, convalescence and the elderly.

To stew Rhubarb, simply wash the rhubarb stalks and chop into 2-3cm pieces. Place in a saucepan with a small quantity of water (enough to reach 1-2cm above the base of the pan, but not to cover the rhubarb completely), or fresh orange juice. Simmer on medium heat with well a fitting lid until rhubarb is completely soft.

Rhubarb is quite tart on its own, so you may wish to add a sweetener of your choice. Personally I prefer to stew my rhubarb with apples or pears to naturally sweeten it up. Adding whole spices such as a vanilla bean pod or cinnamon quill before cooking is also delicious! Stewed rhubarb is a beautiful way to start the day - add to your cereal, smoothie bowl, eat with yoghurt and seeds or make a yummy crumble.

Rhubarb is a great source of dietary fibre, contains as much calcium as milk without the congestive and inflammatory effects and each serve contains about half the daily requirement of vitamin K for healthy bones. It also contains immune boosting vitamins A & C, nearly all the B vitamins except b1 and b12, as well as manganese, iron, potassium, and phosphorous.

Caution: Please always be mindful that the leaves are poisonous and must be discarded before cooking the stalks. Also if you prone to kidney stones, avoid or only eat small quantities judiciously due to the high oxalic acid content.

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