Friday, June 20, 2008

Rhubarb: "Fruit" of Choice

A friend recently asked me if I liked my rhubarb icecream mentioned in this post and pictured below.

Most definitely!

Rhubarb happens to be on of my favourite summertime fruits. Not by itself, I'm not sure there's anyone who enjoys eating rhubarb raw, but rhubarb crisp is pretty much the #1 dessert in my books.

Hence my great enjoyment of my rhubarb crisp at Park House on our trip.

And hence my ordering of rhubarb icecream.

Furthermore, while in England, we discovered their great variety of yoghurt, including one kind made from part yoghurt, part whipping cream and RHUBARB. Needless to say, I was sold. Every time we bought our lunches from a grocery store, I picked up a tub of rhubarb yoghurt.

This brings me to what I think is a great failing in Canadian society: rhubarb grows quite productively in Alberta, particularly in the early summer months. When Brent and I have gone on walks through housing subdivisions in Calgary, as well as in Lacombe, we have seen healthy growing plants. But, alas, people seem to have abandoned the cheery pink and greenness of the rhubarb. Many times I have seen it go to seed, abandoned in the back corner of someone's garden.

This is a great misfortune, I say. A travesty of the poor plant. Why let this great bounty go to waste? Many times I have been tempted to walk up to someone's front door, knock and ask if perhaps they would allow me to harvest their rhubarb.

So, dear blog readers, let me implore you, eat your rhubarb!

Interesting things about the rhubarb plant:
1) The leaves are highly toxic, both when they are raw and when they are cooked
2) The rhubarb is in fact a vegetable (has its seeds on the outside of the "fruit" not inside) and is related to buckwheat
3) The plant originates in Siberia, Mongolia and China and thrives in cold wet climates
4) The root of the rhubarb was used before the flesh itself, for the purpose of inducing vomiting (this should not lead one to believe that the stalks induce vomiting. They do not)
5) In addition to tasting good, there are all kinds of health benefits to rhubarb, including increased circulation and prevention of certain types of cancer.

I should note, though, that our friend Calgary Gardening Adventures has a healthy looking rhubarb in his yard, and I know for a fact that he and his wife appreciate the nutritive and tasteful qualities of the plant

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