Rhubarb is a low calorie vegetable that is fat free, cholesterol free and sodium free.  It contains fiber, antioxidants and Vitamin K. Rhubarb can be eaten raw or is often used in muffins, sauces, jellies, pies, or an accompaniment to savory foods. 

One of the first plants to produce in the spring, rhubarb is a member of the buckwheat family.  It originated in Siberia and was grown for medicinal purposes as early as 2700 BC. It got its name from the Russians who grew it along the Rha river.  For centuries it was traded with tea as a cure for stomach aches and fevers.

Rhubarb grows almost anywhere (zones 3-8) and requires very little care.  It can grow 20 or more years, grows 2-4 feet high and wide and does very well in Idaho! 

The leaves are toxic and should not be eaten but the red/green stalks provide delicious sour flavor.  You can find rhubarb in supermarkets, farmers markets or your neighbors garden.  Choose firm stalks that are not limp or shriveled. Refrigerate in a plastic bag and use within 1-3 weeks.  It can also be frozen or canned.  

A half cup of raw rhubarb is only 29 calories and equals a serving of vegetables.   An alternative to adding sugar to rhubarb is to combine with sweeter fruits such as strawberries, blueberries or blackberries.

However you choose to use rhubarb, you will be rewarded with amazing flavor!


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