We had a franchise discovery day yesterday during which we had the potential franchisees making rhubarb muffins to eat later. I’d run out of light brown soft sugar so substituted it for dark brown soft sugar, well, it was so good I started wondering what the rhubarb muffins would be like if we made the mixture a bit more like gingerbread as ginger and rhubarb go so well together. Result – yummy.
Is rhubarb a fruit or a vegetable? It’s a vegetable as it’s the stalk of the plan that we eat and it’s the only vegetable that we eat as a fruit. We eat lots of fruit as vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, aubergines, courgettes but not the other way round. The difference between a fruit and a vegetable? A fruit contains the seeds of the plant, a vegetable is the root (potatoes, onions, parsnips, carrots), the stalk (rhubarb, celery) or the leaves (cabbage, lettuce, kale), cauliflower is guess what? Yep, a flower so is broccoli.
At this time of year rhubarb is ‘forced’ meaning that it is grown in the dark and as it pushes through the earth it expects to find sunlight, but as it’s dark it keeps pushing itself upwards desperate to find the light, it is said that if you listen in complete silence you can hear it screaming to find the light. The stalk is deep pink and the leaves mustard, it tastes much sweeter than outdoor rhubarb and is delicious eaten raw, dunked into soft brown sugar.
I remember being very little and my Aunty Elsie and Uncle Stan grew rhubarb in their garden, my Uncle Stan always told me that the leaves were poisonous. I was terrified, I thought that if I even touched the leaves I’d die and saw their garden as this extremely dangerous and scary place. Probably my Uncle Stan’s plan to keep me off his vegetable patch, well it worked. Actually, the leaves are poisonous, but you need to eat around 2kg of them to do you any harm and they are extremely bitter so it’s highly unlikely that you’d would ever eat that much.
So if you like gingerbread and you like rhubarb then my gingerbread rhubarb muffins will be right up your street.