Low GI Food of the Month

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Do You Have the GI for Fresh Rhubarb Stalks?
No. Despite being popularised by celeb chefs as a great low GI food in their TV shows and books, fresh rhubarb contains so little carbohydrate (less than 2 grams per 100 grams), that it is actually not possible to measure its GI. But if you like to crunch raw rhubarb, pile your plate high and enjoy a veggie that’s a great source of vitamin C and potassium and a good source of fibre with virtually no calories and certainly no fat. However, most of us find eating rhubarb this way a little hard to take: unbearably tart and way too crunchy. And so we cook it and sweeten it. And that’s where the carbs come in along with the calories (kilojoules) – and the GI. Sugar is probably the favourite sweetener (brown sugar is hard to beat) and many recipes recommend around 120 g/4 oz sugar (or even more – they call it ‘to taste’) to 450 g/1 lb chopped rhubarb stems. However, you can sweeten rhubarb in other lower GI ways: try combining it fifty/fifty with chopped (low GI) apple, a little grated ginger root, the juice of 1 orange and about 3 tablespoons of pure floral honey … or leave out the ginger and orange and bake it with a couple of split vanilla beans. The options are endless as you’ll find if you check out the ‘Rhubarb Recipe Collection’ on www.rhubarbinfo.com/recipe-index.html


Rhubarb is a leafy vegetable from the buckwheat family (it’s a cousin of sorrel) but in 1947 the US Customs Court in Buffalo New York classified it as a fruit because that’s mostly how we eat it. The red stems are the edible bit; the leaves are toxic. When shopping, choose bunches with slender, younger stems that are dark pink to red. The thicker the stalk the stringier it gets. It is a very versatile veg (fruit). Just trim the ends, remove the leaves and cut the stems into 2.5 cm (1 inch) chunks. It cooks down to a syrupy liquid in minutes so don’t add too much water and watch the pot. You can also cook it in the microwave or bake it in the oven.