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What vegetable is nicknamed "Pie Plant"?

Rhubarb is nicknamed the "pie plant", I just adore the attractive succulent rose red color of the edible stalks that actually look like red celery. They say the redder the stalk, the sweeter the rhubarb!

Rhubarb is a vegetable, not a fruit, but sometimes mistaken as a fruit because of the way it is often used in cooking, especially when it is stewed and sweetened.

The "pie plant" can grow just about anywhere and can live for about 10-15 years once established. Do not harvest the rhubarb in its first year of growth, as the soil needs the nutrients to go back into the ground from the plants. When it's time to harvest, use only the stalks and discard the leafy top, as the leaves contain poisonous substances such as oxalic acid. Instead, use the leaves to make an environmentally friendly bug spray for those garden pests.

Rhubarb is an excellent source of Vitamin C, which is important to help support a healthy immune system. It is high in dietary fibre, which is great for the digestive system and is a good source of calcium, which is essential for strong bones and teeth. One cup of cooked rhubarb contains as much calcium as a glass of milk! Rhubarb is also low in sodium and saturated fat, which can help lower your cholesterol and prevent heart related diseases. Rhubarb dates back to 2700 BC where it was grown and used in China for medicinal purposes. People have claimed that rhubarb cured constipation as it is high in fibre, enhanced the appetite when eaten before meals in small amounts and promoted blood circulation, relieved injury pain and inflammation. Researchers have discovered that rhubarb contains natural chemicals called polyphenols that may help destroy cancer cells. To best utilise these polyphenols, rhubarb needs to be exposed to heat by being stewed or baked. Did you know that it was very common in the 1930's for actors to repeat or mutter the word "rhubarb" continuously to provide radio sound effects? Try making a strawberry rhubarb salad with mint and hazelnuts. Toast the hazelnuts until golden brown, meanwhile tossing the rhubarb, sugar, Cointreau and lemon juice in a medium bowl. Let this mixture sit for about 30 minutes until the rhubarb is slightly softened and releases its juices. Toss with strawberries, mint, and hazelnuts. The raw rhubarb plays a tart counter to the sweet strawberries.

Learn and love the origin of your food.

Join Louise on a journey through the seasons with salad ingredients, old traditions and popular, exotic or unusual vegetables. From Paddock to Plate founder, author, food writer, radio journalist & yoga teacher.

What vegetable is nicknamed "Pie Plant"?

Salad story by

Louise FitzRoy

Louise FitzRoy

Salad blogger / food writer

I love everything there is to love about cooking. The fresh ingredients, the tantalising smells and the creativeness of concocting a dish using food you’ve never heard of before. Besides yoga,... Read more