Rhubarb – the diva among vegetables!

Now also in Carinthia!

Since end of March 2016 cultivation of the popular rhubarb variety Holsteiner Blut started in St. Paul im Lavanttal. It has a milder taste and a very attractive red colour.

Holsteiner Blut is an old German variety with solid coloured stems. It is suitable for a ll types of use – the red stems are not as acidic as green varieties, have a milder taste and are therefore very popular with our costumers.

Fruit or vegetable? Rhubarb tastes fruity and sour and is prepared like fruit. It belongs botanically to the knot weed family and is actually a vegetable.

Rhubarb is very versatile. Usually used in our kitchens for deserts, cakes and jam making. It is not only the wonderful taste, but the many health benefits that draws us towards Rhubarb. Rhubarb was used in China as a remedy against the plague, more than 4000 years ago and is still used today in the battle against Alzheimer’s disease.

Alcoholic root extracts can be used for oral health and gum inflammation. Rhubarb root has his uses in medicine as an antimicrobial and astringent haemostatic agent.

Rhubarb is described as follows: It has long, slender, pale green or red stems with large, serrated green leaves on top. It is classified as a vegetable and not a fruit. Only in the USA has it been considered a fruit since 1947.

It had its beginning in the 16th century in Siberia and the Himalayas. In the 18th century, Rhubarb reached North America and parts of Europe from Asia. Via France and Netherlands it reached the British shores, but not until mid 19th century was it cultivated in the region of the Austrian Alps.

Rhubarb Season:
Since the harvest season is short and only lasts from about mid April to mid June,  enjoy the fine, acidic stems while they last. There are green and red varieties. The red stems have a sweeter aroma than the green stems.

Harvesting time stops at our farm on the 21st of June to give the plant enough time to recover. The oxalic acid content increases with time, which can affect sensitive people. Eating rhubarb raw should also be eaten with restraint, due to the same reason. Rhubarb tastes wonderful in compote and can be used as an alternative to apple sauce for many dishes, or enjoy your rhubarb as a desert.

Freeze rhubarb? No problem! It keeps for up to a year!
Rhubarb can be stored easily. Wrap in a damp kitchen towel and it will keep for up to one week in the refrigerator. If you like to use rhubarb outside of season than freezing is the more preferred way to keep it perfect. Frozen rhubarb can also be removed in portions if it has been shock-frozen on a tray, where they have been kept separate from each other for about two hours before being transferred into a freezer bag. Frozen, it can be kept for up to a year  in your freezer. Further processing of the rhubarb pieces is done frozen.

Rhubarb is probably one of the most delicious pleasure of summer, autumn and one of the most anticipated gifts of spring. Easy to freeze, you can enjoy it even in winter. Its slender red and green stems contain a number of nutrients that make it a very healthy vegetable.

In fact, we can thank ancient Chinese traditional medicine for knowledge about rhubarbs healing powers and in terms of cures and remedies. Recent research of today’s scientists have proven and expanded our knowledge about it: For digestion with lots of fibre, vitamin K for healthy bone growth and neuron function of the brain, natural antioxidants through vitamin C and A, anti-infection properties, for healthy skin, mucous membranes, vision and potential cancer prevention.

Other vitamins, mineral and secondary plant compounds in rhubarb, including a high amount of calcium, provide essential support and optimal benefits for the health of the whole body, making this vegetable much more than just a great dessert.