Please help me not rue the day I planted rhubarb
May 16, 2008 8:34 PM   Subscribe

Looking at my rhubarb patch, it seems I'm going to be eating a lot of rhubarb this summer. Though my mother always had some in our garden, I don't think I've ever eaten rhubarb in any form but in rhubarb pie or rhubarb crisp. What's your favourite rhubarb recipe?
posted by orange swan to Food & Drink (37 answers total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Yes, I searched AskMe like a good MeFite and found this thread, but it seems to me there must be more recipes for rhubarb than it contains.
posted by orange swan at 8:37 PM on May 16, 2008

I remember drinking fresh rhubarb tea once when I was a little kid and loving it. A quick google search gave me this recipe, which looks pretty solid.

(For approximately two quarts)
8 cups rhubarb, cut into 1 inch pieces
8 cups water
Juice and grated rind of one orange or lemon (avoid the white pith under the rind)
3/4 cup sugar
I pint fresh strawberries, mashed (optional)
posted by phunniemee at 8:41 PM on May 16, 2008

Oops, slight detail...directions!

Simmer rhubarb on the water until tender (20 – 25 minutes) Strain, pressing on
rhubarb with a spatula to extract all the juice. Stir in the lemon or orange juice
and rind; mix in optional strawberries Add sugar, stirring until dissolved
Cool and serve over ice.
posted by phunniemee at 8:42 PM on May 16, 2008

Give it to your friends!

(I'm just planting my rhubarb now)

What I do is stew it and then freeze it in small batches. Then each morning I defrost some and mix it with oatmeal, brown sugar and milk or yoghurt. Bliss.
posted by unSane at 8:57 PM on May 16, 2008 [1 favorite]

I think the only thing with rhubarb I've ever liked was strawberry pie, I always found it stringy and... bitter maybe? Anyway just wanted to chime in and warn not to eat the leaves, ya know, just in case.
posted by Kioki-Silver at 9:24 PM on May 16, 2008

Strawberry rhubarb sauce is delicious. I would just take roughly equal amounts of strawberries and rhubarb, both chopped, and put it in a pot with just a little water. Simmer, mash and add sugar to taste until it become a nce sauce to jar, refrigerate and put on ice cream and whatnot.
posted by piratebowling at 9:32 PM on May 16, 2008 [1 favorite]

I'm kinda cheating OS, because rhubarb is one of the few things I won't eat if I can help it. And I eat snails, squid, eels, durian and snake (not at the same time of course). But TasteSpotting, which I discovered via AskMe, has a decent list of ideas, several of which I'd be game to try if offered an invitation.
posted by dawson at 9:35 PM on May 16, 2008 [1 favorite]

Strawberry rhubarb sauce is also excellent with a little red wine added.
posted by ssg at 9:43 PM on May 16, 2008

Rhubarb wine. Rhubarb lemonade.
posted by the Real Dan at 10:50 PM on May 16, 2008

Two of the books recommended on an AskMe regarding canning have recipes for rhubarb chutney. We'll be trying both with our bumper crop this year.
posted by Mitheral at 11:16 PM on May 16, 2008

i've enjoyed chewing on it raw, especially while gardening. (though that wouldn't use very much of it.)
posted by ioesf at 11:28 PM on May 16, 2008

I cook rhubarb with a used vanilla pod to lend a little flavour when I make it as a compote. Sweetened and served with unsweetened cream or a thick yoghurt, it's VERY good. I like cooking little puff-pastry cases (muffin tins are a great size) and filling them with a cooled rhubarb mix when they're golden. Serve with custard, cream or ice-cream. It's a lazy, individual pie.

Alternatively, I've found that rhubarb's acidity is a great accompanyment for really fatty or rich meat. I've tried it slightly sweetened (like apple-sauce) alongside roast turkey and it worked really well - the sauce was tart and tasty. It'll need to be sweetened a little bit but think of it as a replacement for cranberry sauce and you're halfway there.

I'd like to try it next with a roast loin of pork and perhaps this time chop it finely and let it cook down with the juices and apple-cider to make the gravy.
posted by ninazer0 at 11:49 PM on May 16, 2008

apartment therapy's cooking site had a nice post last week rounding up rhubarb recipes (including yummy-looking rhubarb cocktails).
posted by judith at 11:49 PM on May 16, 2008

I don't have a recipe but homemade rhubarb pie with a scoop of french vanilla ice cream is incredible.
posted by Black_Umbrella at 12:08 AM on May 17, 2008

Make strawberry rhubarb jam!
posted by The Light Fantastic at 1:36 AM on May 17, 2008

My mother always makes jam/preserves with them, which I can't get enough of. Harvest rhubarb, chop and freeze (which makes the cooking part go faster). When you're ready to spend a few hours in the kitchen, toss the frozen rhubarb with approximately equal parts sugar (depending on how sweet you like it) into a pot, and simmer until you can scoop some out on a saucer, cool it, and have the consistency you like. Pour into jars and seal as per jar instructions. (I always seal with paraffin wax, but the pop-top jars seem to work pretty well as well.) This stuff is AWESOME on EVERYTHING. Toast, with ice cream, yogurt, on pancakes and waffles, as a torte filling (layered between thinly-baked cake), even with meats like pork and lamb.

There are a million recipes out there for chutney, all manners of desserts, cooking with meat dishes, breads and muffins ... most American recipes seem to think it can only be used in a dessert, but if you seek out more Mideastern/Eastern European recipes you'll find a lot of other uses for it. It complements well with flavours like cardamom, onion, raisin, duck, some types of fish, pistachio ... I don't have most of my recipes where I am now, but if you trawl some foodie sites you'll find good ones.
posted by the luke parker fiasco at 1:46 AM on May 17, 2008

Yeah, rhubarb and raspberry jam is also A+. I'm eating some right now! I would warn against the vanilla + rhubarb combo above, which I find a bit disconcerting ("oh what a nice, fresh, tangy rhubarb taste ...... with something odd underneath it ... oh that's the vanilla!") As with most other jams, you can also use it to make nice little yeasty buns with a dab of jam inside them.
posted by beerbajay at 2:01 AM on May 17, 2008

Because raw rhubarb is quite tart, I suggest dipping it in sugar. It's a great treat...I grew up eating this!! Yuummm!!!!!!
posted by cleo at 2:55 AM on May 17, 2008

I've always loved rhubarb, it grew profusely at the bottom of our garden so my mother used it in any number of recipes.

These days I usually take the very lazy (but oh so delicious!) route of making rhubarb crumble - chop the rhubarb into a dish, add sugar and water plus a good layer of McDougalls Crumble Mix (or make your own) and bake for 30-40 minutes. Serve with lashings of thick cream and pretend that you won't want to stray far from the bathroom if you seriously over-indulge ;-)

Rhubarb and ginger go wonderfully well together - in crumble, jam and preserve and no summer is complete without a rhubarb syllabub.
posted by ceri richard at 4:47 AM on May 17, 2008 [1 favorite]

I like to make a pretty standard rhubarb sauce and put it on pork chops or on shortcakes.
posted by advicepig at 5:44 AM on May 17, 2008

It's good as a fruit base for trifle. Also rhubarb + vanilla pods + yoghurt makes a decent smoothie.
posted by bifter at 9:14 AM on May 17, 2008

Rhubarb soup, served hot or cold. Recipes abound on the web, from plain rhubarb to inclusions of ginger or tangerine.
posted by exphysicist345 at 9:28 AM on May 17, 2008

There are lots of great ideas for rhubarb in this Egullet thread about rhubarb.
posted by peacheater at 10:27 AM on May 17, 2008

Response by poster: I forgot that my mother did make strawberry-rhubarb jam, and that it was to die for.

Thanks for all the great ideas so far! I knew there had to be more creative dishes for rhubarb.
posted by orange swan at 10:53 AM on May 17, 2008

When is the best time to cur rhubarb? I heard that it can be poisonous if you leave it too long...
posted by booksprite at 10:54 AM on May 17, 2008 [1 favorite]

posted by booksprite at 10:55 AM on May 17, 2008

Rhubarb vodka is yummy delicious:
posted by Tapioca at 12:01 PM on May 17, 2008

Strawberry-Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake. We had rhubarb plants when I was a kid - cut off the seed heads (before the plant goes to seed), and do not eat the leaves! I think you can pick the stalks anytime, but we always pulled them once they got pink/red. The thinner ones will be more tender; older stalks tougher.
posted by belau at 12:03 PM on May 17, 2008

I had a mixture of rhubarb and pineapple juices a long time ago. Delicious.
posted by Raybun at 1:31 PM on May 17, 2008

booksprite: Once the flower stalks appear, stop harvesting the rhubarb. That's when it becomes poisonous. Also, interestingly, I've read that the leaves are *always* poisonous. So be careful what you harvest.
posted by GardenGal at 6:12 PM on May 17, 2008

Oh and by the way, nthing rhubarb jam. I cut mine half and half with strawberries - frozen strawberries are fine, if fresh are too pricey. Jam is easy (harvest, puree, add sugar, bring to a boil, fill jars, submerge in boiling water for 10 minutes, let sit) and can use up a lot of fruit.

Strawberry-rhubarb jam in particular is a good starter recipe for people who are new to canning, because the acidity in the rhubarb means you don't have to do anything too special to ensure that it stays safe. Also, it's not a flavor that you see very often but it's soooo good.

I filled a bunch of smallish (1 1/2 cup) mason jars and gave them away for Christmas with ribbons tied around the top. Or that was the plan anyway... I only had a few left by that time, it was that good. :)
posted by GardenGal at 6:18 PM on May 17, 2008

Rhubarb soup, a Finnish version (some translations call it rhubarb pudding, but it's really not solid at all, more like a thick soup). It's very simple. Just boil the sliced rhubarb with sugar until the rhubart gets mushy. Mix the potato starch with cold water and stir the mixture into the soup. Warm the soup until it starts bubbling again and then you are done.

This a classic Finnish summer time dessert. It's really good served cold. You can add a bit of cold milk or cream (plain or whipped) to each serving, or serve it as it is.
posted by severiina at 7:35 PM on May 17, 2008

My boyfriend and I made this ham with rhubarb chutney for Christmas, and it was really yummy.
posted by queseyo at 11:52 PM on May 17, 2008

GardenGal: Many thanks for this information.

Unfortunately, it looks like I now have a large patch of inedible rhubarb in my garden, as there are two huge flower stalks (growing conditions have been perfect here in Switzerland).

Still, the leaves and stalks are very decorative and look great. I guess I will have to be a bit quicker off the mark next year...
posted by booksprite at 12:38 AM on May 18, 2008

This page on says that the stalks do not become poisonous after flowering. I've certainly eaten the stalks after flowering with no ill effects.
posted by unSane at 6:45 AM on May 18, 2008

The following is one of my most cherished recipes. I knew someone who used to bake this for everyone whose birthday was during rhubarb season - and for my birthday, I asked for the recipe instead (incidentally, I got both). It's a cake with rhubarb in it, a crumbly streusel topping, and a really nice vanilla sauce to serve with it.

Rhubarb Cake

2 tablespoons butter, softened
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 egg
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup sugar
1 cup buttermilk
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups chopped rhubarb (fresh or thawed if frozen)
1 teaspoon baking powder

¼ cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons melted butter
¼ cup sugar

1. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. beat in egg.
2. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
3. Add to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk, beating just until moistened. Fold in the rhubarb.
4. Pour into greased 9-inch square baking dish.
5. Combine topping ingredients (last three) and sprinkle over batter.
6. Bake at 350°F for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
7. Cool on a wire rack. Serve with vanilla sauce.

Vanilla Sauce

½ cup butter
¾ cup sugar
½ cup evaporated milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Melt butter in a sauce pan.
2. Add sugar and milk.
3. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2-3 minutes or until thickened.
4. Remove from the heat.
5. Stir in vanilla.
6. Serve with cake.
posted by sascha at 9:22 AM on May 18, 2008 [2 favorites]

My grandmother had the most kickass rhubarb recipe I've ever had, and I was shocked at how simple it was to make when I finally cajoled it out of her. It ends up being a thick strawberry-rhubarb base with crunchy cake bits on top, and it's divine with vanilla ice cream

4 cups rhubarb, sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
1 cup sugar
1/2 box white cake mix
1 3 oz. package red jello (usually strawberry, but you can substitute raspberry or cherry for a different effect)
1 cup water
1 tbsp. butter

Put the rhubard over the bottom of a 9x13 pan (it should cover the bottom entirely), then layer the sugar, then Jello, then cake mix over the top. Pour the water over the top slowly, then dot the top with the butter. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

If there are children under the age of 12 in attendance, this recipe will make exactly one serving.
posted by Mayor West at 5:14 AM on May 19, 2008 [1 favorite]

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