Rhubarb, with its vibrant red stalks and unique tart flavour, is a delightful addition to your meals and culinary skill set. Often used in desserts and jams, rhubarb adds a tangy and refreshing twist to various recipes. Despite its appearance as a fruit, rhubarb is actually a vegetable known for its robust and fibrous stalks. When cooked, rhubarb softens, releasing a deliciously tart and slightly sweet flavour that pairs exceptionally well with sweet ingredients.
Rhubarb not only adds a unique tartness to desserts and savoury dishes but also offers several health benefits. This vibrant plant is a good source of dietary fiber, aiding in digestion and promoting regular bowel movements - fun!!
Tips for using Rhubarb
Combine rhubarb with other foods and flavours that sweeten or complement its natural tartness, such as strawberries, apples, ginger, cinnamon, orange, and maple.
Stir rhubarb pieces into muffins, quick bread, and coffee cake batters.
Substitute rhubarb for half of the fruit in your favourite crisp and cobbler recipes and adjust sweetness accordingly.
Simmer sweetened rhubarb into a sauce and serve over ice cream and pancakes.
Cooking with Rhubarb
Always wash your veggies before using them. Some rhubarb can have tough, stringy ribs, so after washing it, strip these off with a small, sharp knife and slice the stalk thinly or thickly as required. Rhubarb stalks—both raw and cooked—are safe and delicious to eat. However, you should never eat rhubarb leaves; they are toxic and could lead to serious complications. Most rhubarb you buy does not come with leaves, but if it does cut them off before using your rhubarb.
The traditional way to store rhubarb is to wrap it in a damp paper towel to help maintain moisture, then place it in a perforated plastic bag and store it in the refrigerator. Rhubarb can also be frozen for long-term storage and used year-round. To freeze your rhubarb, wash, trim, and chop the rhubarb into pieces. Spread them in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze until solid, then transfer the frozen rhubarb into sealed freezer bags or containers.
Other ways to store rhubarb long-term involve using it in a condiment or recipe and then storing the end product. Here are some recipes that work well for long-term storage: