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It seems every established yard in the Midwest, and just about every other area that has a cool Spring, has a rhubarb patch. Most patches have been inherited when a new owner purchased a property. A few rhubarb patches were intentionally planted and took off quickly to grow to a nearly wild state.  Rhubarb is actually a vegetable, used more often than not as a fruit in pies, crisps, cobblers. Rhubarb, known for it’s unique tang, was first grown for medicinal purposes in the Far East more than 2000 years ago but is actually native to Siberia.  The leaves of the plant are poisonous to humans. The leaves contain two toxics that combine to create the poisonous effect. The stems contain only (did I say ‘only’?) one toxin and as a result do not pose the threat leaves do. The stalks are flavorful and have so many uses rhubarb is often referred to as the ‘pie plant’. Rhubarb is worth eating! A cup has just 25 calories, though so tart to your taste buds it is seldom eaten by itself. Rhubarb is rich in several B-complex vitamins. It is also very high in Vitamin K, iron, calcium, and potassium. Rhubarb is a versatile vegetable that is so low in calories, but high in nutrition at the same time – often a unique and difficult combination to obtain! If you are looking for a rhubarb adventure, travel to Sumner, Washington to taste pie from the Rhubarb Pie Capital of the World!

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