Rhubarb is one of my favourite vegetables – yes you heard right – it is a vegetable, a stalk, but with a glorious colour and taste. It marries very well with ginger. Rhubarb has an anecdotal use as a laxative in herbal and Chinese traditional medicine but paradoxically it is also suitable for a low fodmap diet. The leaves contain high levels of oxalic acid and are toxic so not to be consumed but the stalks are very popular around the Calder valley – perhaps because we are not too far from the rhubarb triangle.
What about the chemistry of rhubarb – well Andy Brunning of Compound Interest has produced the following excellent graphic.
I can find no RCTs for the use of rhubarb as a laxative or its use to assist in ameliorating any symptoms in IBS so I can only assume that the anecdotes are just that but the information in the graphic is very interesting, non the less. But what about recipes – to make a rhubarb cordial and puree see the recipe below which makes around a pint of cordial.
400g of rhubarb
1 inch stick of ginger
Adequate water to cover the rhubarb in a pan
Sugar or sweeteners (not polyol based) to individual taste.
Wash and slice the rhubarb stalks, peel and chop the ginger and add to a small pan. Cover with water and cook till very soft. Add sugar (I used just enough to remove the tart taste.) Pass through a sieve or blend. then cool and add to a bottle – I used the one in the image it once contained rhubarb liqueur. The pureed rhubarb that remains in the sieve can be used to add to lactose free yoghurt as a breakfast fruit puree. Store the cordial in the fridge – you can either drink it cold or warm. Sweeteners will work just as well in the cordial and for those ‘nutrition evangelists’ that decry sweeteners as toxic- we have NO evidence that they are harmful and if they are used to reduce energy consumption for weight management or for diabetes management, then that surely has to be a benefit?