November 17th, 2018

From Our Table: Ready for rhubarb

By Medicine Hat News on June 5, 2018.

Ripe ruby red rhubarb is ready! This very undemanding perennial, which means it grows back on its own every year, is extremely easy to grow. If I asked you whether it is a fruit or a vegetable I’m guessing most would respond fruit, likely because most rhubarb recipes are for desserts. Who makes desserts out of vegetables right?

Believe it or not rhubarb is actually a vegetable. So yes you are making muffins, pies, cakes and other delectable desserts from a healthy vegetable.

Rhubarb is rich in vitamin K which is important for bone growth and health and has also shown to be helpful with brain health even possibly preventing Alzheimer’s. Fibre is another health hallmark of rhubarb. Fibre is important in our daily diets to help keep blood sugars regulated and an extremely important factor in healthy bowels. Rhubarb also has other vitamins and minerals important for a variety of health benefits.

Another great gift of rhubarb is how easy it is to harvest and store. Simply cut off the stalks from the plant. Usually the smaller the stalk the less woody in consistency it is likely to be. Cut off all the leaves and wash it thoroughly. Then let it dry or dry it off. Cut off any imperfections and then slice it into thin even pieces. Store it fresh in the fridge In an airtight container for up to 10 days. You can also put it into bags in 1 cup portions because that is the amount most recipes call for, take out all the air and freeze it for up to 6 months. When you thaw it to use just be sure to drain off the extra liquid.

Here are a couple of delicious rhubarb recipes to try. Spring just would not be spring without rhubarb!

The Cherry Rhubarb Bundt Cake with a Toasted Coconut Garnish is from a new little cookbook called “From Farm to Food” put out by CropLife Canada. My friend Patricia Chuey created this recipe.

The second I discovered on a recent girls’ trip. I love girls’ trips because everyone usually brings yummy snacks and this time my friend Christine who lost her mom to cancer made her mom’s muffin recipe. She said, “This is from the ‘Best of Bridge’ series she loved using. She passed the books on to me.”

Joanne Smith is a registered dietitian.

Cherry Rhubarb Bundt Cake with a Toasted Coconut Garnish

2 cups flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/3 cup soft butter

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup sour cream

1 cup *stewed rhubarb

2/3 cup fresh or frozen (thawed) cherries – pitted, drained and chopped

Glaze

3/4 cup icing sugar

1-2 drops coconut extract

2 Tbsp coconut milk or milk of choice

1/4 cup toasted coconut

Preheat oven to 350 F and lightly grease and flour a bundt cake pan.

In a large bowl stir together flour with baking soda and baking powder.

In another large bowl beat butter and sugar until fluffy then add eggs, vanilla and sour cream mixing well. Add flour mixture and half the rhubarb, mix well then lightly fold in the other half of the rhubarb.

Transfer half the batter to the bundt pan. Top with the cherries keeping them in the centre of the pan so they do not touch the edges of the pan then carefully cover with remaining batter.

Bake for 50-55 minutes or until golden brown and toothpick inserted comes out clean. Drizzle with glaze (mix icing sugar with milk and coconut extract until smooth) and top with toasted coconut (put coconut in saucepan over low heat and stir until turns golden)

* To stew rhubarb put 2 cups sliced rhubarb in a saucepan with 3 Tbsp water and simmer stirring often, until it reaches the consistency of applesauce.

Phantom Rhubarb Muffins

1/2 cup sour cream

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 large egg

1 1/3 cups flour

1 cup diced rhubarb

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

Blend together sour cream, vegetable oil and egg. Set aside. In another bowl, stir together flour, rhubarb, brown sugar, baking soda and salt. Combine with first mixture. Mix just until moistened. Fill 12 lined muffin tins two thirds full.

Topping

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup chopped nuts

1/2 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp melted butter

Combine ingredients and spoon on each muffin. Bake at 350 F for 25-30 minutes

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