Have You Tried Rhubarb?

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Last weekend, I watched my son make rhubarb muffins with his grandma. He loved the whole experience, from going into the garden to pick the stalks to biting into a warm baked muffin. See the recipe at the end!

Rhubarb is a vegetable that has many medicinal qualities. Recent research has found several compounds that have anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties, as well as components that lower cholesterol and blood pressure. Among these beneficial compounds, are anthraquinones, plant chemicals that seem to be particularly potent cancer agents. Emodin, the most abundant anthraquinone in rhubarb, has been shown to fight cancer in three ways; it inhibits cellular proliferation, induces cell death in cancer cells and prevents metastasis (the spread of the disease).

Plus, this stalky red vegetable is also very high in antioxdants resveratrol, lutein and zeaxanthin, which are all important for eye heath. 

If you have never cooked with rhubarb, it is very easy to prepare. Keep in mind that the redder the stalk, the more nutrient dense it is. Chop away the green leafy parts (they are toxic), and clean the rhubarb by wiping it with a damp cloth. Pull the stringy parts away from the stalk and now you are ready to use it!

Grandma Betty’s Rhubarb Muffins

  • 1 ¼ cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¾ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 cup rhubarb diced
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup safflower oil
  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • ½ cup pecans (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 F.

  • Grease muffin tin or line with paper liners.
  • In large bowl, sift together all dry ingredients plus the rhubarb.
  • In a small bowl, whisk eggs, oil and buttermilk.
  • Make a well in the dry mixture and add wet mixture. Stir until just blended and fold in nuts. Fill muffin tins and bake for 20 minutes. Makes 12 muffins!

Enjoy this muffin with a cup of green tea for an afternoon snack.

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June 2012
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