Why is rhubarb red?

I’ve always loved rhubarb, I love it because it is a bit sour if you don’t put sugar in it (don’t do it!)   Its tart.  You can make it into an apple and rhubarb tart of course, but I dont like pastry much – making it, cooking it or eating it.  So I’ll have my rhubarb on ice cream.  Mmmm mmmm.  But why is it red?  On the outside anyway.  I just bought some at a street market in a country town.  Just a couple of bucks and I have a bag of rhubarb.  So I’ve cut it up and its green on the inside.  According to Wikipedia the reason rhubarb is red is believed to be due to anthrocyanins.  But the green stalks taste the same.  I like the red ones tho!  And I’ve seen in seed books where they have purple ones, hot pink, I like the thought of that.  But I like the rhubarb I eat to be red.  Green rhubarb just doesn’t do it for me.  Green rhubarb on ice cream – ewww it would look like snot!   I’m just grimacing as I taste test the rhubarb – I haven’t put any sugar or honey in it yet…I’m really enjoying the acidic grimace at the moment – I’m thinking that whatever they use in those ultra sour lollies (can you call them sour sweets? if you come from countries that call lollies sweets?  sour candies?)  anyway, I’m thinking that whatever is in those lollies is what is also in rhubarb, and that the person who designed those lollies was like me…standing over the pot with a spoon every now and again ‘putting a little sour into their life.’

Rhubarb is a laxative apparently – hehehe I know some people who have laxative type qualities as well;  Its also an astringent for the mucous membranes of the nose and mouth.  Interesting. 

What vitamins are in rhubarb?  Is it a plant that is vital to your health?  Well…there’s calcium and phosphorus (minerals) and a little Vitamin C, some Vitamin A and some Vitamin K.  Apparently though because of its laxative habit – your body needs to be fast at grabbing the vitamins and minerals as they go their merry way through the digestive system pretty fast – the old rhubarb can also take some of the medications you swallow on a fast trip through the gut so be careful with this vegetable. 

But can you grow rhubarb?  People do – I haven’t yet.  The dogs eat it;  the grasshoppers eat it;  it can’t stand the extreme heat and dryness – but doesn’t come up from underground until the extreme cold has gone.  Fussy little plant isn’t it?  Oh and don’t eat the leaves, they are poisonous – altho you’d have to eat 5 kgs of very sour leaves to die according to Wikipedia. 

I like the smell of rhubarb – I’ve just seen that you can put ginger in with it to cook (but I don’t like ginger).   Or cinnamon and/or nutmeg.  Well I like both of them, but do I want them in with the rhubarb???   I’ll go and do some research – my way.  Open the spices, take the lid off the stewing rhubarb and sniff them both to see if it appeals.  I’m of the opinion that if it doesn’t smell good to you then you shouldn’t be mixing it or eating it.  Works for me, the kids get a bit upset when I tell them to cook. 

What will we cook?  I don’t know look in the fridge and see whats there, if it sounds good in your head start cooking it, and sniff a few herbs and spices and see what works…they just don’t get it!  The Sniffing Chef – sounds like a hayfever advert!  But it works I tell you – it does!

Give it a try – its the new age cooking tip – Feral Cooking Tip No:  1

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