EN on Foods

May 2017 Issue

Rally ’Round Rhubarb!

Rhubarb pairs so perfectly with strawberries and other sweet fruits in tarts, jams, cobblers, and pies that it’s known as the “pie plant” and is often mistaken as a fruit. However, this ancient vegetable traces back to 2700 BC China, where it was used medicinally as a laxative and to reduce fever. Marco Polo is said to have sung its praises in Europe and Ben Franklin is credited with bringing rhubarb seeds to North America in 1772, though it took until the 1900s to gain culinary popularity. Rhubarb remains an American favorite, not only for its sweet-tart appeal (strawberry-rhubarb pie!), but also as a healthy mecca of vitamins and nutrients.

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