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Rhubarb flowers... an e-mail question

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by Bill on May 05, 2005 05:32 PM
Hello,

I'm hoping that you could tell me :

I have heard / read tantalizing bits about rhubarb flowerpouches ( before
the flowers open )
are supposed to be a delicacy.

Do you know when to harvest / how to prepare / how to cook them ?

I'd be delighted if you could let me know .

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by tkhooper on May 05, 2005 06:02 PM
deep fried in tempura batter, or boiled and served 'au gratin' with cream sauce.

Now Bill as you know these have oxalic acid in them so very, very little goes a very long way. It is suggested that you get them when they are very young to decrease the amount of acid you are getting.

Some people are much more sensitive to the oxalic acid so unless you know your system can handle it. I would pass it by.

Leave the leaves alone completely.

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by Bill on May 05, 2005 06:19 PM
I didn't know about the oxalic acid (or even that the flowers were edible).

I looked up oxalic acid.

I don't think I'll try eating the flowers! [Frown]

Thank you for the warning! [kissies]

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by tkhooper on May 05, 2005 06:40 PM
You are very welcome. I used to eat the stalks raw when I was a kid. Always got the stomach ache and always ate them again the next year. From what I have read cooking helps to decrease the amount of acid you are taking in but still small doses are recommended.

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by evon on May 10, 2005 12:25 AM
Of course, Rhubarb is always rather acidic. To neutralize the ( oxalic ) acid, I allways cook it with a knife-tip of chalk. Saves up on the sugar you need too. Sugar masks the taste but not the effect of the acid, chalk does.But the flowerbuds should be no more acidic than the stalks, and should theoretically be equally edible. A delicacy, it's reported. But has anyone ever tried them ? If they are so good, and we all break them out anyway, it's a pity to throw them away.
by tkhooper on May 10, 2005 02:23 AM
The leaves are many times more acidic that the stock and the research said the the flowers were high. If I were kidney stone prone. I think I would probably leave them alone entirely. That's what happens to the acid when it gets in your system. It produces kidney stones.
by evon on May 11, 2005 11:04 AM
My husbands gran was a great rhubarb fan who ate lots and lots of rhubarb ( rhubarb warm mash, rhubarb jam, rhubarb preserve, rhubarb tart, ... ) and lived to a very ripe old age without any kidneyproblems, but ahe always cooked rhubarb with a teaspoon of chalk.It was standard practice in those days I think. A rather forgotten wisdom, few people nowadays do it.
Kidney stones can form if oxalic acid meets calcium in your blood, and settles there into particles.
The whole point of cooking rhubarb with a little chalk ( calcium ) is to make sure that proces happens in your pan. Because of the cooking-motion you dont get big lumps, the particles stay very very small, and pass through your digestive system without ever getting into your blood. And because the acid is neutralised before you eat it, you also avoid having stomach problems.

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