Monday, April 20, 2009

Name That Herb Winner

Congrats to Simon de Boer- who correctly identified last week's mystery herb:  Rhubarb.

It's still all wrapped up in itself, but the brainy leaves are bursting through and in places, you can see the beginning of the stalks.

I took some photographs around Owen Sound and further south around me, at Neustadt, ON. Both gardens seemed to be at the same point despite the hour difference.

Here you can see the beginning of the stalk.
It's actually a vegetable, not the fruit of the plant, but because we use it mainly as a fruit, most people just think of it as such.

Rhubarb is high in potassium and contains a fair amount of iron. The amount of calcium in 1 cup cooked rhubarb is twice that found in milk.

The action of rhubarb on the body is as a laxative, as most youngsters have at one point learned the hard way.
But that is what makes it such a great Spring plant: it acts to cleanse the system and make it ready for the green fresh vegetables and herbs to come.

Cooking mellows the tart taste and softens the laxative effect. 

Caution: Never use the leaves of rhubarb, which are toxic and inedible due to the high concentration of oxalic acid in them.

Watch for some incredible fresh rhubarb recipes once those stalks get longer.

Next Name That Herb: Friday April 24

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