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What on Earth Can I Do with Rhubarb?

Learn how to buy and prepare the low-calorie, mouth-puckering plant, then try your hand at a delicious batch of strawberry-rhubarb muffins.

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Although the sour stalks make appearances in pie, crisp, and compote, rhubarb’s technically a vegetable. You’ll find it at farmers’ markets from spring or early summer through September. Why you might want to pick up a bunch: The water-dense stalks are low in calories and sugar, weighing in at only 25 calories per cup. Plus, one serving delivers 2 grams of fiber and takes care of 16% of your daily vitamin C intake.

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Buy It: Look for rhubarb with firm, crisp, and brightly colored stalks. Rhubarb stalks can range in color from light green to pink to bright red, and the deeper red the plant is, the sweeter the rhubarb will taste. Once you get it home, rhubarb can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Prepare It: Wash and scrub rhubarb stalks. The stalk of the plant is the edible part (do not eat the leaves; they contain oxalic acid and are toxic). If some of the stalks are stringy, you can remove the strings just like you would when washing celery, although it’s not necessary. Cut the stalks into thin strips and then dice the rhubarb into small pieces in preparation for cooking.

Cook It: Traditionally, rhubarb is paired with sweet fruit, like strawberries, and sugar for use in sauces, pies, crisps or muffins. The fruit and sugar balance out rhubarb’s acidity and tartness.

Ready to put these tips into practice? You can’t go wrong with this simple dessert recipe.

STRAWBERRY-RHUBARB MUFFINS

Ingredients:

  • 1¾ cup white whole-wheat flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 2 egg whites, beaten
  • ¾ cup low-fat milk
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup minced rhubarb
  • 1 cup chopped strawberries

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare a muffin tin with 12 paper liners.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  3. Stir in egg whites, milk, and vegetable oil. Mix until combined, do not over mix.
  4. Fold in rhubarb and strawberries.
  5. Fill each muffin tin ¾ full with muffin mixture.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes, cool and serve.

Makes: 12 muffins

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