Rhubarb, rhubarb the magical fruit. The more you eat, the more you…. Only some of that statement is true. For those of you who are not familiar, the edible part of rhubarb is a sweet and tart stalk that resembles a pink colored celery stick. (Don’t eat the leaves, they are poisonous!) While it is treated like a fruit for it’s use in pies, tarts and sweets, it is actually an herbaceous perennial.
Many varieties of rhubarb have been used to relieve constipation for hundreds of years as it contains rhein and emodin which have laxative properties. It was one of the first Chinese medicines to be imported to the West from China. It also contains a pigment called parietin which the FDA identified as a suppressor of 6PGD which was shown to have killed half the human leukemia cells over two days in the laboratory. The pigment also slowed the growth of other human cancer cells in mouse models and a more potent derivative of the parietin called S3 may cut the growth of lung cancer cells implanted in mice by two-thirds, over the course of 11 days. So there’s the magic part...
You have likely seen it in a strawberry rhubarb pie. My family has always been partial to unadulterated rhubarb. No need to mix in fruit. If you like sweetly sour flavors, this will be right up your alley.
As much as I love a good pie, this recipe for rhubarb curd really hits the spot. Warning: it’s made with plenty of butter and sugar so use at your own risk.
Directions: Beat the eggs with ¾ c sugar until sugar is dissolved and set aside. Place remaining sugar, water, and rhubarb in a large sauce pan. Bring to a boil then simmer until rhubarb is very soft, just under 10 minutes. Remove from heat, add lemon juice and blend until smooth using an immersion blender or a real blender. Slowly whisk the smooth rhubarb into the egg and sugar mixture. Put it back in the saucepan over low heat until it thickens, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter, one piece at a time until smooth. Refrigerate overnight before using. Enjoy!