In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Rhubarb is an ancient and valuable herb. Depending on how it is prepared, rhubarb root, known as Da Huang or Radix et Rhizoma Rhei, been used as an anti inflammatory, a natural way to lower cholesterol and a way to clear dampness, or infection from the body. Stalks grow up from a rhizome or underground stem called a crown. When the rhizome is cooked for a short period of time, it is said to “clear heat through the bowels” and helps with constipation, gastrointestinal bleeding, and infection. It will have a laxative effect. Cooked for longer periods of time, it has a less of a purgative effect and helps with “blood stasis” such as uterine fibroids.
April marks the beginning of rhubarb season. While the rhizome is used for its medicinal properties, the stalks are a delicious, nutritious treat with a high fiber content to help provide food for the good bacteria in your stomach; it also reduces cholesterol, and is high in antioxidants. For good health, we recommend eating the colors of the rainbow. This is a fun way to get your “red”.
This month’s recipe that is not only healthy, it is also kid friendly. A healthy spring and summer snack that uses the natural sugar in the strawberries and the tart flavor found in rhubarb.
Tips for Rhubarb
Whether you are harvesting this root vegetable from your own home garden or buying it from an organic source, here are some ways to ensure your food is staying fresh:
1) Store rhubarb stalks in a crisper drawer in the refrigerator. This will preserve your stalks for about a week. If you wash the vegetable beforehand, be sure to dry it thoroughly.
2) Leave the stalks loose in the crisper and not in a grocery bag.
3) If you end up with too much rhubarb, cut the stalks into 1 inch chunks and store in an airtight container in the freezer. They can be stored for up to one year.
4)The richer the pink color, the more tart the vegetable.
Coconuts contain significant amounts of fat, but unlike other nuts, they provide fat that is mostly in the form of medium chain saturated fatty acids (MCFAs) in particular, one called lauric acid. Lauric acid is converted in the body into a highly beneficial compound called monolaurin, an antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial that destroys a wide variety of disease-causing organisms. It is therefore thought that consumption of coconut milk and other coconut-derived foods may help protect the body from infections and viruses.
MCFAs are rapidly metabolized into energy in the liver. It is thought that unlike other saturated fats, MCFAs are used up more quickly by the body and are less likely to be stored as fat. Research is mixed but recent studies are suggesting that the fats from coconut may not have such a detrimental effect on blood lipids and cardiovascular health as once thought. This is certainly one area of research to watch.
*6 rhubarb stalks (chopped) (about 2 ¼ cups)
*1 cup fresh or frozen strawberries
*½ cup pure maple syrup
*about ½ cup full fat coconut milk
10 serving popsicle molds
10 popsicle sticks
1. Place chopped rhubarb, strawberries and maple syrup in a small pot on the stove over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, turn heat to low and continue simmering for about 15 minutes until the rhubarb is tender.
2. Pour into a blender and mix until pureed. You should have about 2 cups of puree. Place in the fridge to cool.
3. While strawberries and rhubarb are cooking, pour about 1 tsp of coconut milk into the bottom of each popsicle mold, place the top on the molds and put the sticks in place in each one. Stick the molds in the freezer to harden.
4. Once the strawberry rhubarb mixture is completely cooled, take the pops out of the freezer and layer 1 tbsp onto the coconut milk. Place the pops back in the freezer and the strawberry rhubarb mixture back in the fridge.
5. Once the first two layers are frozen, repeat with 1 tsp of coconut milk and 1 tbsp of strawberry rhubarb mixture, freezing after each layer.
6. Once frozen, you can loosen the molds by dipping the bottom of the molds in warm water. Don’t let them sit; it should take about 10 second to loosen the popsicles.