Even if you've never cooked with rhubarb, chances are you've spotted it on your grocery store shelves—the stalks are just plain beautiful, with their deep red, pink, and green hues. And their puckeringly sour flavor balances out exceptionally well when cooked with sugar. The result is fresh-tasting and bright with a smooth texture, sweet-tart flavor, and vibrant rosy color. It pairs nicely with its old springtime friend, strawberries, as well as other berries and fruits, but it also stands well on its own in a jam, sauce, cocktail mixer, or pie. We've got 18 recipes to show you just how good it can get.
When choosing rhubarb, look for stalks with the deepest shades of red near the base and ones are firm and crisp. And be sure to discard the toxic leaves!
Millionaire's Cherry Rhubarb Jam
Rhubarb makes a memorable jam, and combining it with sweet cherries creates the perfect balance of tart and sweet. Splurge with half a vanilla bean and a generous splash of orange liqueur for one fancy spread. It would be delicious over waffles with a dollop of crème fresh, or sandwiched in a biscuit with a wedge of brie.
Strawberry Rhubarb Kuchen
Kuchen is the German word for cake, and this version has a traditional yeast cake base, strawberry and rhubarb filling, and a spiced crumb topping. It takes a little time and effort since the crust requires a couple of rises, as well as some equipment (food processor, mixer, piping bag), but the result speaks for itself. The cake is rich and flavorful, the filling is perfectly fruity, and the topping adds buttery texture.
Barbecue-Rubbed Pork Shoulder With Stovetop Rhubarb Ketchup
This barbecue-rubbed pork shoulder is just the ticket for your next backyard bash. It's cheap, can feed a crowd, and cooks slow but effortlessly. Roast it in the oven, or fire up your smoker if you're lucky enough to have one. But what really makes this dish really special is the homemade rhubarb ketchup—rhubarb adds a fruity zing and takes the classic condiment over the top.
Crepes with Blackberry-Rhubarb Compote
Buttery crepes are lovingly paired with a chunky compote of blackberries and rhubarb for a sophisticated brunch or dessert. The fruit is cooked down with maple syrup for sweetness, vanilla for depth of flavor, and orange juice for brightness and acidity. Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream for a full blown dessert.
Pickled Rhubarb Stalks
If you're looking for something fantastically different and extra seasonal to pickle for the winter months, pick up a bunch of rosy rhubarb. Cut the stalks into lengths that fit in the jar neatly and slice it into bite-sized pieces just before adding to a cheese plate or tossing into a grain salad.
Gluten-Free Rhubarb Pie with Sorghum Crust
The key to the delicate, gluten-free crust keeping in all of the precious rhubarb juice is baking it in a pie pan rather than on a baking sheet like a galette. Be sure to lightly grease your pan and roll out the crust on a big piece of parchment paper for easy transfer. This springy dessert easily adapts to dairy-free and egg-free.
Raspberry Rhubarb Ginger Jam
This homemade jam plays to each ingredients' strengths: tart rhubarb, sweet raspberries, and spicy ginger combine to create a bold and beautiful jam. The flavors are big, so it would work best with straightforward baked goods that won't compete. Skip the cakes and muffins and pair it with simple buttery croissants, whole-wheat toast, or brioche.
Whole Wheat Oatmeal Pancakes with Maple Roast Rhubarb
These lightly nutty, fluffy pancakes make for a relatively healthy start to your day, and pair perfectly with a roasted rhubarb compote. Make your compote before starting your pancakes for ease, unless you want it piping hot. In that case, let the rhubarb roast while you flip your pancakes and then top them off along with some melty butter.
Apple-Rhubarb (and Cardamom) Ice Cream
Rhubarb feels right at home in a creamy and fruity homemade ice cream. Combine tart apples, rhubarb stalks, ginger, cardamom pods, and water in a pot and cook down before adding sugar. If you have an old-fashioned, hand-cranked food mill, use it. If not, send the mixture through the food processor and then add it to the cream before freezing in an ice cream maker.
Strawberry Rhubarb Streusel Muffins
These tender and tasty muffins are full of strawberry and rhubarb, making them perfect for spring. The muffins themselves are moist and scented with vanilla, which pairs nicely with the fruit. The strawberries and rhubarb are just sweet enough and still fresh-tasting, and the whole thing is topped with a buttery streusel that adds lots of decadent flavor.
This refreshing non-alcoholic pitcher drink takes spicy ginger beer and pairs it with a tangy rhubarb syrup and plenty of fresh lime. It's a fizzy drink that's a great option for a brunch crowd or just a warm day. If you can't resist boozing it up, add a little dark rum.
This is what a fruity cocktail ought to be—a tart and sweet, fruit-forward version of a classic cocktail, the Sidecar. With pear brandy, orange liqueur, and rhubarb shrub, this drink keeps the spirit of the Sidecar with three bold flavors. The lovely rosy drink is great for spring, with subtle warmth and bright acidity.
Strawberry Rhubarb Fields
This cocktail offers a nice balance on the palate. Fresh strawberry and rhubarb, and a hint of tarragon is paired with tequila, a little lemon juice, and simple syrup. The finished drink has a red hue and an herbal undertone that contrasts with the bright flavors of the fruit.
Strawberry-Rhubarb Bellini with Basil
Tart rhubarb and sweet, red strawberries are the perfect foil for fresh basil in this pretty spring cocktail. It's the ultimate brunch drink, without being too sweet or too tart. If you happen to have a bottle of sparkling rosé, it would be perfect in this cocktail.
This deceptively simple recipe produces juice that is surprisingly refreshing. Even though rhubarb is known to be quite tart, once strained and chilled, the juice has a mixture of tartness and sweetness that resembles homemade lemonade.
Make your Boulevardier seasonal with the addition of homemade rhubarb syrup. Gran Classico and the syrup stand-in for Campari. It's a luscious combination—bourbon and Gran Classico play very nicely together, and the fresh rhubarb adds just enough tart fruity flavor.
Booze-Free Rhubarb Lime Gimlet
In this no-alcohol libation, the rhubarb shrub has the sort of burn and kick that we expect from a spirit, which adds a level of interest that a lot of other mocktails lack. Tart lime juice and maple syrup round out the sharpness of the shrub for a delicious non-alcoholic sipper.
Rhubarb Beer Cocktail
This incredibly simple beer mixer is perfect on a warm spring day. A wheat beer like Hefeweizen is light enough to let the sweet and tart flavor of the rhubarb syrup peek through, but has enough flavor of its own to maintain the original nuances of the beer. It's fruity and refreshing, with enough body to deeply satisfy.
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