More than you ever wanted to know about rhubarb



1. Firstly, is Rhubarb a fruit or a vegetable?

Answer: It is a vegetable, but because it is mainly used in desserts, pies, crumbles, it is often confused with being a fruit. Did you also know that it was first used for it’s medicinal properties?  From the roots come powders and extracts which are apparently quite effective as laxatives. Large doses act as an astringent by cleansing the colon and clearing intestines of bacteria and other irritants. English rhubarb,also known as Garden and Bastard rhubarb (really?) have the same medicinal properties also, however in a much milder form.

2. How can you enjoy Rhubarb without adding all that sugar?

Answer: Add sweeter fruit to the Rhubarb, such as strawberries, raspberries or blackberries. Or simmer with a handful of dried fruit. And for a Rhubarb Banana Smoothie without sugartry this recipe.


150g rhubarb cut in chunks
1 medium banana
2 to 3 cm fresh ginger root peeled [0.8-1.6 inch]
8 pitted dates
250 ml almond milk or similar non dairy milk
handful of ice cubes
mint leaves to serve
Recipe from The Flexitarian (vegan and veggie)

3. Are Rhubarb leaves poisonous?

Answer: Yes they are so leave well alone. The leaves contain poisonous oxalic acid. Small quantities may cause a burning sensation in your mouth and throat, difficulty breathing, diarrhea, eye pain, nausea, stomach pain, vomiting, kidney stones, seizures, or coma.

4. Where did it come from?

Answer: It can be traced back to China, around 2,700 BC  in the cold climates of Mongolia, and the Himalayas’ and Siberia. The roots survive the frozen grounds. It was used for medicinal purposes rather than food.

5. Who remembers the cult children cartoon Roobarb & Custard? 

The inventors of this fantastic wobbly series were animator Bob Godfrey and writer Grange Calveley.  And of course it was made extra special by the voice over from the late great Richard Briers.  And here is one of their adventures on YouTube

6. And after all of that is there a tenuous link to a Rhubarb candle?

Glad you asked! Here is the new spring fragrance Rhubarb & Raspberry
A crisp, mouth watering rhubarb fragrance smoothed by tea rose and hints of raspberry.


And a big thanks for the use of the lovely Rhubarb picture – Photo by kaori nohara on Unsplash


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