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The Many Benefits of Rhubarb

Jun 16, 2010
Crops:

Rhubarb is one of just a few plant stems that can be eaten, and similar to other edible stalks (like celery), it has a crisp texture.  It's unusually tart taste also makes it a natural pair with the sweetness of strawberries, hence the overwhelming abundance of strawberry rhubarb dessert recipes that can be found in books or online.  The beauty of this recipe is in its simplicity as well as its walnut addition.  Walnuts are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids which are essential to heart health (reducing our risk of blood clots, plaque formation, high blood pressure and inflammation leading to heart disease) as well as eye health (reducing our risk of central vision loss).  Feel good in serving this dessert to children as well because omega-3s promote strong vision and improved learning ability in young kids.  Thus, in replicating this recipe, I substituted whole wheat for white flour, reduced the sugar content by half in the fruit mixture and doubled the walnuts for good measure (of health).

Most interesting about rhubarb is that unlike most of the plants we eat, it's leaves are actually toxic!  They contain a chemical compound called oxalic acid which is also commonly found in bleaches, anti-rust products and some metal cleaners.  But make no mistake about it, rhubarb stems are safe and nutritionally superior.  The stems are high in fiber as well as vitamin C and calcium.  Add to the mix farm-fresh strawberries and you have yourself a natural flu fighting food (so forget your vitamin C supplement today)!

 

Strawberry rhubarb with a walnut crumble is a high fiber, disease-fighting dessert that lacks the traditional rubbery-ness of (whole wheat flour in) most other healthy sweets.

 

Incredible taste and incredible nutrition: a two-for-one rhubarb special. 

 

Article and photo(s) copyright of Michelle Cimino.

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