Tips and Basic Cooking.
A perennial plant that has celery like stalks that are greenish pink to dark red in color. Rhubarb is a vegetable but is generally prepared and served in the same manner as a fruit.
Rhubarb can be eaten raw with a little sugar sprinkled over it but it is generally cooked with other ingredients to produce a fruit dish of some type. Rhubarb can be used nicely to enhance the flavor of other fruits, such as pairing it with strawberries in baked sauces or beverages. It makes a delicious pie filling and is also used to make sauce in the same manner as applesauce. Rhubarb can also be used to make jellies, jams, cakes, muffins, and other desserts. It can also be used in savory dishes and is good as a sauce to serve with meats and fish.
Before storing, remove any leaves from the rhubarb stalks and discard. Rhubarb stalks can be stored in the refrigerator for 5 to 7 days, unwashed and sealed in an air tight plastic bag or tightly wrapped in plastic. It is best to store fresh rhubarb in whole stalks because cut or diced pieces will dry out more quickly. Trim just before using. Rhubarb can be frozen for future use by cutting the stalks into 1-inch lengths and packaging in airtight bags or by stewing first and then freezing. Rhubarb does not need to be sweetened before it is frozen.
Trim off leaf ends and roots using a sharp knife and discard. Be sure to discard the leaves, which contain toxic levels of oxalic acid.
If the more mature stalks are wider than 1 inch, slice lengthwise in half or thirds.
Check stalks for blemished areas and trim off before using.
If stems are fibrous, they will need to have the strings pulled off. At one end of the stalk, cut just under the skin. Pull the piece down the stalk to remove the strings. Continue until all of the strings are removed.
Wash stalks and slice them into 3/4 inch to 1 inch pieces when preparing for stewing or making sauce. Pies and other recipes may call for the pieces to be cut to a smaller size, such as 1/4 to 1/2 inch.
Refresh rhubarb stalks by standing them in a pitcher that has been filled partially with cold water. Allow them to stand for a minimum of 1 hour.
Stewed Rhubarb | Baked Rhubarb | Rhubarb Jam
Rhubarb can be eaten raw but because of its tartness, it is generally cooked and sweetened first. It can be sweetened with sugar, honey, syrup, or berry preserves. When cooking rhubarb do not use aluminum, iron or copper pans. Rhubarb has high acidity and will react with these types of metals. The reaction will cause the rhubarb to turn a brownish color and can cause the pan to discolor. It is best to use anodized aluminum, non-stick coated aluminum, or enameled cast iron pans. If the rhubarb is being baked, glass bakeware can be used also.
Because rhubarb varies in sweetness, it is hard to determine how much sugar is needed. The rhubarb will also sweeten as it cooks. Start out with a small amount of sugar. Once the rhubarb has cooked, more sugar can be added if necessary.
Clean 1 pound of rhubarb and cut into 3/4 to 1 inch pieces. This should produce approximately 3 cups of rhubarb.
Combine 1/4 cup of sugar and 1/4 cup of water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat and stir until sugar has dissolved.
Add the rhubarb and bring sauce back to a boil.
Reduce heat to a simmer and cook uncovered until rhubarb is crisp-tender, approximately 10 minutes.
Taste to see if sauce is the desired sweetness. If it requires additional sugar, add 1 or 2 tablespoons at a time and bring sauce back to a boil to be sure sugar dissolves.
Remove from the heat when sauce is at desired sweetness. Serve as a sauce warm or cold. The sauce can be eaten on its own or it can be served as a topping on other food, such as cake, ice cream, pancakes, and waffles.
Spread 2 pounds of rhubarb, cut into 3/4 to 1 inch pieces, on the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch baking dish.
Add 1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger and 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg to 1 1/2 cups of sugar. Mix ginger and nutmeg into the sugar until evenly distributed.
Pour the sugar mixture evenly over the rhubarb.
Drizzle with 1/2 cup of orange juice. Pineapple juice can also be used.
Cover baking dish with foil. Bake for 30 minutes in a 350°F oven. Remove rhubarb from the oven and stir mixture. Put back in the oven and bake uncovered for an additional 10 minutes or until rhubarb is tender.
Remove from the oven and serve as a warm sauce on its own or as an accompaniment to other foods, such as meats and fish.
SPRING RHUBARB CAKE
4 tbs softened butter
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup yogurt
1 small bunch rhubarb (about 1- 1 1/2 cups, diced)
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon
1/2 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped
2 Tbsp butter, melted
Mix butter, brown sugar and egg. Add sifted flour, baking soda and salt alternately with yogurt and rhubarb. Spread in 9×12” pan.
Mix topping ingredients together in separate bowl, sprinkle over top of cake. Bake 35-40 minutes @ 350 degrees.
NOTE: The hardest part of this recipe is dicing the rhubarb. I cut into 2-inch pieces and then put it into the food processor and pulse 8-10 times for a few seconds on each pulse.
RHUBARB BOURBON SOUR
Katelyn sent in this recipe for a new way to use rhubarb. I hope we have enough rhubarb. And bourbon.
1 1/2 c. chopped fresh rhubarb
1 c. sugar
3/4 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 c. water
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
few drops bitters
Combine the rhubarb, sugar, lemon juice, and water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer over low heat and simmer gently until the rhubarb is completely soft and the mixture is syrupy, about 8-10 minutes. Keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t boil over. Strain the liquid into a bowl or glass jar. Stir the vanilla extract into the rhubarb syrup. Keep the stewed rhubarb for another use.
For each cocktail, add ice, 1 part rhubarb syrup, 1 part Bourbon, and a few drops of bitters to a cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously for 20-30 seconds, until foamy, then strain into a chilled glass. Garnish with extra rhubarb stalks if desired, and serve immediately.
I really really don’t have a sweet tooth and love rhubarb flavor. Here are a couple of savory recipies for rhubarb (all rhubarb salsas\salads with a protein that could be a side dish or with any protein).
Fish tacos with rhubarb salsa:
Spicy Chicken Thighs with Cucumber Rhubard Salsa:
Lamb Ribs with Rhubarb and Radish Salad