Rhubarb is popular for its fruity-sour taste and is suitable for refining a variety of foods. Especially compote or cake refines rhubarb in a special way. In addition, it has relatively few calories, but on the other hand contains the toxic oxalic acid. What effect rhubarb has on your health and what should be considered when preparing it, can be found here.
Rhubarb: Important ingredients
Rhubarb has numerous vitamins and minerals that are important to the human body. This includes:
- vitamin C
- Vitamin K
- Apple and citric acid
- essential oils
Rhubarb in numbers - nutrition facts
An amount of 100 grams of rhubarb usually contains about 14 to 21 kilocalories and only 0.2 grams of fat and 0.9 grams of vegetable protein (protein). The content of carbohydrates is about 4.5 grams, while the content of fiber is 1.8 grams.
Rhubarb has no cholesterol whatsoever and is relatively healthy due to the low calorie intake. However, because sugar is added in many cases due to the high acid content, this positive effect often recovers. A practical alternative to the industrially produced sugar is fruit juice (for example apple or orange juice), which is added to the rhubarb compote in the preparation.
Health significance of rhubarb
Rich in rhubarb, vitamin C strengthens the immune system and the body's defenses. This can help the consumption of rhubarb in winter, for example, to prevent a cold.
The high content of potassium ensures the dehydrating effect of rhubarb and promotes the transport of nutrients in the body cells. The contained sodium supports the digestion and stimulates the intestinal movement.
In addition, rhubarb is characterized by a blood-purifying effect and can be used as a detoxifying agent. Especially in the form of compote rhubarb can gently cleanse intestine, bile and liver. The fruit acids also stimulate the appetite. The substances contained in the rhubarb root are particularly strong, so they often serve as an ingredient in laxatives.
Allergies and intolerances
Allergies that result directly from the consumption of rhubarb are usually not to be feared. However, special attention must be paid to oxalic acid, which is contained in rhubarb in larger quantities.
Oxalic acid is toxic and contained in particular in the leaves of rhubarb, which is why they must be removed before preparation and must not be consumed, otherwise vomiting and circulatory disturbances may occur in large quantities. But even in the stems of rhubarb oxalic acid is present to a small extent.
The acid binds calcium, which is why it can affect the texture of teeth and bones when consumed excessively. Because it attacks the enamel, you should brush your teeth at the earliest half an hour after eating rhubarb. In addition, there is a risk that deposits of oxalic acid in combination with endogenous calcium form blisters or kidney stones.
When is oxalic acid dangerous?
The older the rhubarb becomes, the higher the content of oxalic acid increases. For this reason rhubarb should not be harvested after the end of June. The optimal harvest time extends over the summer months before June.
The harmful effect of oxalic acid can be reduced by combining rhubarb with milk or milk products. Thus, the oxalic acid is neutralized by the calcium.
However, you should refrain from rheumatism, arthritis, kidney stones or gout better to consume rhubarb. In addition, pregnant women and infants should generally not consume rhubarb.
Tips on buying, storage and shelf life
When buying rhubarb, pay particular attention to its quality, which is particularly evident in its freshness: the bars should be firm and have a slight sheen. In addition, the ends should appear juicy. Wavy rhubarb stalks are not ripe yet - their purchase is not recommended.
After purchase, the rhubarb is best wrapped immediately in a damp cotton cloth. It is stored at best in the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator, where it stays crisp and fresh for several days.
Also suitable for freezing is rhubarb, which is placed raw or already processed in the freezer for this purpose. The durability is significantly extended.
This is to be considered in the preparation
Before preparing rhubarb, the rods are washed and the leaf base and stem end removed. The rhubarb stakes are cut into pieces. One should peel particularly thick and fibrous bars, since they have a high content of oxalic acid. Even green pieces are rich in acidity and should therefore be cut off.
After a subsequent boil of rhubarb he is ready for further processing and can now be sweetened. Cooking also reduces the level of oxalic acid by releasing the acid to the cooking water - so it should be spilled after cooking. Rhubarb should only be consumed raw in small quantities.
Under no circumstances should rhubarb be cooked in an aluminum pot or wrapped in aluminum foil. He must not come into contact with other metals such as zinc. All chemical compounds that are formed are poisonous due to oxalic acid.
Use of rhubarb
Rhubarb is suitable as a healthy ingredient in a variety of recipes and especially as a refinement of sweets. A classic is the rhubarb cake, which is decorated with crunchy crumbles. Muffins are another variation of a succulent dessert with rhubarb.
Also for processing in jam rhubarb is popular, especially as a strawberry-rhubarb jam. The proportion of strawberries balances the acidity of rhubarb and a harmonious, fruity aroma is created. Rhubarb can also be used as an addition to a warm milk and is also suitable for making liqueur, which enjoys great popularity even off-season.
Rhubarb: fruits or vegetables?
Although rhubarb is characterized by a fruity-sour taste and is often prepared like fruit. Nevertheless, rhubarb is a vegetable. He belongs to the so-called Knöterichgewächsen, whereby he is related to the sorrel. Rhubarb consists of a petiole and is cultivated on fields, but also often in its own garden.
Interesting facts about rhubarb
Rhubarb is native to China and was mentioned as a medicinal herb in a Chinese herbal book 2, 700 years before Christ. However, one saw the healing power of rhubarb not in the stems, but in its roots. From these, a powder was produced which was used, for example, against constipation and constipation and should even help as a remedy for plague.
It was not until the 18th century that rhubarb became a popular foodstuff. In England, various rhubarb varieties were cultivated for the first time at the beginning of the 19th century. Meanwhile, rhubarb, which generally prefers more temperate zones, has become relatively widespread. For about 150 years, the plant is grown in Germany.
Rhubarb stalks with light red flesh are characterized by a slightly milder taste compared to the dark red stems. In Germany, rhubarb is usually purchased in the period between April and 24 June, the St. John's Day. Thereafter, the rhubarb should no longer be harvested.