Hi Everyone,

Anxious for Spring? We sure are!

Are you a fan of the gruesome, weird and a bit revolting?

(what a way to start a newsletter!)

Now that I hopefully have your undivided attention, What could this have to do with rhubarb you might be asking?

Historic healing remedies is the nature of the book which describes some of the lost potions used to heal the sick in the 17th and 18th centuries, and is officially called
"Physick and the Family: Health, Medicine and Care in Wales 1600-1750."

If the juice from an impaled snail for your sore eye or the powdered limbs from dead people (criminals were extremely popular) appeals to you as interesting, the rhubarb laxitive potions will seem pretty boring I'm afraid.

Anyway, pretty interesting stuff if you are interested in medicines and cures. The book was researched in Wales and Britain and covers the period between 1600 and 1750.

Physick and the Family: Health, Medicine and Care in Wales, 1600-1750 is published by Manchester University Press.

"Little Mix" the girl group who won at X Factor lately, are lending their support to a great cause.

The cause is led by Barry Swainston of Swainstons'Sweets South Shields UK, and this is a fundraiser to aid blind girls in Tibet. The girls from the group signed a poster which will aid in the fundraiser. These girls have been going into this sweets-shop since they were little, and were quite happy to participate. Their favorite? Rhubarb and Custards of course.

Your Urine Tells a Story

The characteristics of urine can tell lots of things about a person. It gives clues as to what they've been eating, but also as to their medical state as well.

Color, clarity, odor and that sort of thing can be clues to possible substance abuse, liver or kidney problems; a whole range of things really. One of the main things noticed first is color.

If one has been eating alot of asparagus, the urine can have a greenish color. High dosages of carotene found in carrots can turn urine an orangy color; tea-colored urine can indicate one has been eating fava beans or rhubarb. Likewise, pink or reddish urine can also be produced by digesting rhubarb or blackberries.

And so though you may be aware that food digestion and urine color has a possible link, also be aware that there could be something else going on too. It's always best to check this out just to be on the safe side.

Fashion Trends 2012

"Tangerine Tango" (orange shades) are predicted as some of the more preferable colors this year for everything from kitchen appliances to ladies' fashions. Can you guess what they suggest to pair this color with? "Rhubarb Red" of course.

Cocktail trends for 2012
According to the Canadian National Post, "bitters" used to always consist of one type and brand. Now, all types of flavors from chocolate to celery are making an appearance. Rhubarb bitters are starting to be seen more and more in Canadian specialty food stores. So, instead of only tasting them in a bar, you can get your own for at home. Check out these stores.

Nutrition in 2012
Better food choices are always advised by the Dieticians and this year is no different. Topping the list is choosing leaner cuts of meat, eating chicken and turkey skinless, faithfully eating protein rich breakfasts in the morning to avoid snacking later, and of course eat lots of fibre and go heavy on the green salads. What is also being recommended and actually mentioned, is to add stewed rhubarb to oatmeal and yogurt for the extra fruit/vegetable portions. (Just never actually heard this talked about, so this item jumped out a bit.)

Rhubarb Fruit and Oatmeal

Depending on how big your pan is, you will have to decide on the measurements. For a basic small corning-ware dish, use this guide.

1/2 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup chopped rhubarb

1 tsp. ginger

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 mashed banana or 1/2 cup applesauce

1/3 cup milk

Sugar/sugar sweetener to taste

1/2 cup raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, peaches...You can use all or pick your favorites.

Combine all well and bake 35 minutes at 350 degrees F.

Weather Not Quite Perfect

Did you know that December was unseasonably mild this winter for the rhubarb in Wakefield? Gibberellic acid, which is like a cold substitute, was used on one large farm to break the dormancy of the buds that was not provided by cold and frost. None of this will be stopping the Wakefield Festival later on this month though. Thousands and thousands are expected as usual to taste the goodies at the Wakefield Rhubarb Festival.

By the way, the Rhubarb Festivals page has been updated as much as I can for the moment. Still a bit early to confirm dates, but I will keep an eye on them and update as available.

Got some rhubarb left from last year? Barbeque season is in the air here now. My husband spent all day yesterday desperately chipping ice and snow to get to our BBQ. (Let the sun melt it I say, but what do I know? He is a die-hard BBQ-er.)

This is a recipe for barbeque sauce, which will make about 8 cups of sauce. Be sure to sterilize your jars properly first if canning.

Rhubarb Barbecue Sauce

3 lbs rhubarb chopped (or thawed and drained)
2 cups golden raisins (or dark) finely diced
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
1/4 c brown rice syrup (or increase honey to 3/4 cup and omit syrup)
3/4 cup cider vinegar
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp cloves
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt
3 cloves garlic minced
2 tsp. coconut oil
1 diced red onion

Combine all ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Keep an eye on it and stir. At boiling, reduce to medium heat and let simmer 45 minutes.

Transfer to a blender or food processor and blend for a minute or so to crush any fruit. Adjust sugar for taste if necessary. Transfer to jars and let cool. This can be refrigerated if you think you will use it up fairly quickly. Enjoy!

We always welcome any special tips/advice/stories/recipes about your rhubarb you might care to share! Please feel to do so at Rhubarb Expertise

Until next month,




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