Friday, August 24, 2012
Crop summary: Darmera peltata - Umbrella Plant or Indian Rhubarb
I felt excited when I learned that you can eat the leaf stalks, but I didn't have a chance to actually try them out until this summer. Plants for a Future says to peel the stalks and eat them raw or cooked. After a little trial and error, I determined that the basal portion of the stem has a lot of fiber, but still a soft, juicy core with a mild flavor and a lot of water. I pulled off the outer full-on fibrous layer, chewed on the inner parts, and wound up with fiber wads which I spat out or swallowed. Towards the top of each stalk, the outer fiber layer hadn't developed yet and I could eat the entire stalk without peeling, a very nice nibble. The very top inch or so of stalk has the same pliability, but tastes fairly bitter. Perhaps cooking would mitigate the bitterness; I didn't try cooking any of the stalks so can't say how that affects the flavor or tenderness.