Origin / growing areas
Rhubarb came originally from East Asia, where it has been used as a medicinal plant for millennia. The “root of the barbarians” (the English translation of its Latin name) was first introduced in Europe in the early 16th century. Rhubarb has been cultivated in Germany since the mid-19th century. This robust plant is often grown in household gardens.
A member of the Polygonaceae family, rhubarb is not classified as a fruit, but rather as a member of the group of plants known as angiosperms.
Rhubarb is rich in vitamin C. 100 grams are enough to satisfy one-third of the minimum daily vitamin C requirement. It is also a rich source of potassium, which is believed to help regulate body fluid levels and promote the exchange of nutrients from the blood to the cells of the body. Rhubarb’s equally high sodium content contributes to its function as an aid to digestion.
The bushes form a network of thick interwoven roots. The most commonly sold varieties have fleshy, red stalks. They have a milder flavour and lower levels of fruit and oxalic acid than those with green stalks.
Only the fleshy stalks are used. These should not be consumed raw, as their oxalic acid content is very high. Rhubarb has a refreshingly fruity, slightly tart flavour. It is often processed into compote or preserves. Many people recommend it as a filling for pies and cakes.