Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Did you know - Rhubarb

  • The leaves of the rhubarb plant are poisonous if eaten in much quantity.  The poisonous compound is Oxalate.  There have been cases of people cooking the leaves like collards and becoming sick, or even dieing.  So if you let, or encourage, children to eat directly from the garden, and I hope you do, make sure that they understand that they are not to eat the leaves of this plant.
  • Rhubarb is grown from a rhizome.  According to my handy dictionary, that's a thick underground horizontal stem that produces roots and has shoots that develop into new plants
  • Parts of this plant have been used as a laxative, an antiseptic, a diuretic, a treatment for liver, bladder and urinary complaints. 
  • Rhubarb is a cool weather plant, hence my having one.
  • Early Americans referred to rhubarb as "Pie fruit", but of course, it isn't really a fruit, or even a vegetable.  The part we eat is the stalk of the plant.
  • It dates back to 2700 BC in China where it was grown for its medicinal properties.
  • Traditionally, it is pared with strawberries or apples for sweetness, although paring it with ginger is also common and tasty.
  • As early as the mid 1500's, it was much more expensive than cinnamon in France.  By the mid 1600's, rhubarb was double the price of opium in England
  • My husband doesn't like it.  Go figure.




1 comment:

  1. I never thought of pairing rhubarb with apples, but that would be good. A rhubarb apple pie sound good, with cinnamon in the juicy filling and a small scoop on vanilla ice cream on top. OK, that does it, need to bake one now.