rhubarb
  • Stalk size: 18 to 24 inches

Best known as an ingredient in pies and tarts, rhubarb is a perennial with edible celery-like stalks. The leaves contain high concentrations of oxalic acid and should not be eaten. While rhubarb is sometimes eaten raw with sugar sprinkled on it, most uses for this plant are in recipes where its tart flavor is a unique addition. Because it is perennial, choose a permanent spot in your garden for rhubarb. Space plants 4 to 5 feet apart and plant so that crowns are 2 to 4 inches deep.

Nutritional Information

The colorful rhubarb stalk is 95% water and has good amounts of lutein—a powerful antioxidant—potassium, and magnesium. It’s low in calories but its high acidity (pH 3.1) is usually offset by cooking it with sugar, which increases the calorie count. It is high in calcium, but this mineral is bound by oxalic acid and so is not easily absorbed by the body. One study showed that the fiber in the rhubarb stalk significantly lowered cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood. Children often enjoy dipping the raw stalks in sugar and sucking the tart juices from the stems.

1 cup diced raw rhubarb:

  • Calories: 26
  • Carbohydrates: 6 grams
  • Dietary fiber: 2 grams
  • Protein: 1 gram
  • Sugars: 1 gram
  • Vitamin C: 16% DV
  • Vitamin K: 45%
  • Calcium: 10%
  • Potassium: 10%
  • Manganese: 12%

 

Rhubarb
 

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