Rhubarb is the oldest vegetable crop.
It is a perennial plant with fleshy petioles and basal leaves forming a dense and large rosette.
Because of the petioles, along which the rainwater rolls down, it got its name: "rheos" is translated from Greek as "to flow".
For the first time, rhubarb was introduced to Europe in the Middle Ages, but began to be eaten only in the 18th century.
Rhubarb can grow up to 20 years in one place, but it is recommended to replant it every 5 years.
The optimal type of soil is moist, non-acidic, fertile. 6-7 seeds are placed in one hole to a depth of about three centimeters. Rhizomes are planted at 3-4 cm depth.
It makes no sense to specially harvest the seeds: the rhubarb is cross-pollinated, so it is recommended to remove the peduncles so that the plant does not waste additional nutrients.
Rhubarb is popular among gardeners: the harvest is one of the first, and the plant has many useful properties.
Uses of rhubarb
Food plant. Succulent petioles and young leaves are used. Despite the fact that rhubarb is a vegetable, compotes, jam, jelly, marmalade, puddings, jelly, juices are often prepared from it. Leaves are often part of stuffed cabbage.
Medicinal plant. Rhubarb roots have many medicinal properties: laxative, astringent, anti-inflammatory. However, rhubarb should not be used for appendicitis, internal bleeding, pregnancy.
Ornamental plant. Rhubarb will look great in shady areas or near waterways.
There are many varieties of this plant that are suitable for different purposes.
Examples of decorative and food varieties are:
- Atrosanguinium (purple shoots and leaves, pink flowers);
- Victory (large rosette 80-100 cm in diameter, large dark green leaves, young dark red petioles);
- Moscow-42 (large leaves with wavy edges);
- Giant (long petioles).
For medicinal purposes, Tangut (finger) rhubarb is used.
Petioles are rich in vitamins of group B, C, PP and carotene, calcium, potassium, magnesium. Rhubarb has a positive effect on the digestive system, improves the functioning of the gastrointestinal tract and has a laxative effect. Rhubarb is often recommended for people with bowel problems or gastritis.
It must be remembered that young petioles are the most useful. By mid-July, they coarse, their taste changes and deteriorates, oxalic acid, harmful to the body, accumulates in them. These petioles can be used to prepare hot dishes: heat treatment destroys the acid.
Petioles are best kept in the refrigerator in a plastic bag. They can last up to three weeks, but it is best to eat the freshest, freshly plucked petioles and leaves.
This plant should not be used for hyperacid gastritis, gastric or duodenal ulcers and other acute diseases of the digestive system. The use of rhubarb is contraindicated in kidney stones, gout, glomerulonephritis.
You should be careful when preparing rhubarb dishes and try not to use iron or copper dishes to avoid chemical reactions.