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Rhubarb is an excellent source of Vitamin C, which is important to help support a healthy immune system. It is high in dietary fiber which helps to maintain regularity within the digestive system, and is a good source of calcium.
Rhubarb dates back to 2700 BC where it was grown and used in China for medicinal purposes.  It is thought that it made its way to America in the late 1700’s and began growing in Maine and then spread into Massachusetts.  Rhubarb looks a great deal like celery but is pink in color and the leaves of the plant are quite toxic.  Rhubarb contains oxalate (a toxic substance) which have been reported to cause poisoning when large quantities of raw or cooked leaves are ingested. The largest quantities of oxalates are contained in the green leaves.

Where is Rhubarb Grown and How to Grow it?

Rhubarb.jpgSome rhubarb is grown in heated greenhouses and is generally available year around.  In a climate that is continually warm, rhubarb will grow all year long.  In colder climates the plant will disappear during the winter months but will grow again as the weather gets warm.  Rhubarb can be grown just about anywhere and depending upon the climate one might get at least two harvests from the plant each season.  It is possible to grow the plant in large pots as long as the pots are big enough to allow for growth.  Because rhubarb is considered a perennial, it is left in the ground and will continue to grow for at least 10-15 years.

Rhubarb is rather easy to grow and can go for longer periods of time without water, unlike other vegetables.  It usually needs little tending to apart from adding fertilizer with each new season.  It is best to be grown from the crowns of the rhubarb instead of growing from seed.  It is best to plant in the early part of spring when the temperature of the soil is still low, around 40 degrees F.  It is best to plant the crown approximately 4 inches into the soil with the crown of the bud at 2 inches below.  Harvesting rhubarb is done by cutting stems at the level of the soil or by simply pulling up the stems.  If it is the first year of growth do not harvest the rhubarb as the soil needs the nutrients to go back into the ground from the plants.  

Nutrients Found in Rhubarb

Rhubarb is an excellent source of Vitamin C, which is important to help support a healthy immune system.  It is high in dietary fiber which helps to maintain regularity within the digestive system, and is a good source of calcium which is essential for strong bones and teeth.  Rhubarb is low in sodium and saturated fat which makes it a very good food to help prevent heart related diseases.  It is also high in Vitamin K, which is thought to help prevent diabetes.

Healthy ways to Prepare Rhubarb

Rhubarb is generally always cooked, however it has been eaten raw.  It is not only used as a dessert; it also makes excellent sauces and jams.  To get the best nutrition from rhubarb, it is suggested that it be baked or stewed for a long period of time.  It can be cooked with apples and oranges sprinkled with cinnamon and ginger.  Rhubarb can be used in a variety of ways from making pies to putting it on pizza.   

Health Benefits of Rhubarb

In a study by Stephen Daniells it was found that Vitamin K, which is found in rhubarb, may reduce the onset and development of insulin resistance in men and thus offer the possibility of not getting diabetes. Rhubarb is high in Vitamin C which is an anti-infection fighting vitamin which boosts the immune system and helps protect against infections and helps to protect healthy cellular growth.  Because rhubarb is high in calcium it is beneficial to help build strong bones and teeth.  Adding rhubarb to your diet can help lower your cholesterol as it is low in sodium and saturated fat.  It is also an excellent source of dietary fiber which helps to maintain a regular and efficient digestive system.  

Rhubarb is an unusual vegetable and often thought of as a fruit.  It is an excellent and healthy food to add to your diet as it can be prepared and served in many different fashions.  Although rhubarb can be tart, it has a sweetness that comes alive when cooked.

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