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Rhubarb Recipes

Chopped Rhubarb by FotoosVanRobin on Flckr

While all you lovelies in the south are enjoying your citrus during the cold months, we in the north have… rhubarb!  It is a wonderful fruit-like vegetable.  Maybe not so versatile as a lemon, but equally flavorful and full of nutrients.


Rhubarb is very rich in a number of vitamins and minerals:  it has high contents of Vitamin K and Calcium, in addition to Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Magnesium, Potassium, Manganese, and Omega-6.  It’s also high in fiber, helping to reduce cholesterol.


It’s also incredibly easy to grow in the cooler regions of the north – the plants are perennials and will last 10-15 years, it’s a lovely tropical-looking plant, plus it is just fine being neglected.


But what the heck do you do with it?

Using my “stick it all in a pot” method works like a charm for rhubarb.  Here’s the easiest rhubarb recipe I know, the one my grandmother made, and my mom made, and now I make:


Poached Rhubarb


  • 6 stalks of Rhubarb (if you have more, scale the recipe up, if you have less, scale it down – no need to be too precise)
  • 1/4 C Sugar
  • 1/4 t Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/8 t Ground Cloves
  • 2-4 T Water


1. Wash the rhubarb stems and discard any leaves (the leaves contain oxalic acid, which is poisonous).  Then slice the rhubarb into 1/2″ pieces.

2. Combine the sugar and rhubarb in a sauce pan, and let them stand at room temperature until the rhubarb begins to get a bit juicy (about 15 minutes).

3. Add the cinnamon and cloves.  If there isn’t much juice, add the water to just coat the bottom of the pan.  Then bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly.

4. Once it has boiled a few minutes, reduce the heat, cover, and simmer.  Stir it occasionally, and add more sugar to taste.  Continue simmering until the rhubarb is tender and liquid is thick (10-12 minutes).  It should start to look like a sauce.

5. Remove from heat and let cool, without stirring.

6. Refrigerate to cool the sauce – if you want a thicker sauce, refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

You can then serve this over vanilla ice cream (fair trade of course) or creme fraiche.  Or you can use it as a sweet, tangy sauce for tofu, chicken, or duck.  Yum!


Other Rhubarb Recipes



Anyone have any more good recipes for rhubarb?

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18 comments to Rhubarb Recipes

  • I have never had rhubarb. I think we got little stems once at the CSA and I let them sit in the refrigerator until they had to be composted. If I run across them again, I’ll try your easy recipe.

  • “Rhubarb Vodka” — NOW we’re talkin’ –

    How timely, we just divided our rhubarb roots and they are taking over the garden!

  • I just posted a strawberry rhubarb pie with lattice crust.

    I can’t wait for a piece tonight! :)

  • I love rhubarb. Here is my all time favorite rhubarb recipe. My husband begs for this year round but it’s seasonal, baby!

  • Thanks for the smile. This post reminded me of dad smothering his evening ice cream with mom’s rhubarb sauce. It seemed like we had rhubarb around the house just about all summer long, and we never harvested anywhere near all of the stalks from that one huge plant in the back yard. I wasn’t a huge fan of straight-up rhubarb when we were little, but it grew on me as I got older. Now that I’m out in St Louis, it’s one of the summer treats I definitely miss!!

  • Pie!! We’re hoping to do some Rhubarb wine with ours.

    Our rhubarb did bolt & flower, we took off the flower, that was one weird looking bloom!

    Please remember folks – the stems are edible, the leaves are poisonous!

  • I love rhubarb! Sauce is also good used for smoothies, on vanilla pudding, on bread pudding, on pound cake, on halibut…. Did I mention that I love rhubarb?

  • We love rhubarb. Mostly what we do with it is a crisp, but as a kid I remember my dad eating it raw right out of the garden.

  • Funny thing that rhubarb. My mom tried for years and years to grow rhubarb (unsuccessfully) She would make us miserable every spring with “stay away from the rhubarb now dammit”. Joke is she can’t stand rhubarb. I have never asked why she always tried to grow it! (Her son BTW is a rhubarb fan cooked, not raw) My dads family sits there and eats the stuff like celery. OK I eat chard stems like celery. So I guess I won’t point out how weird it is to eat rhubarb like celery.

  • monica

    I bought our first batch of roots this year–two of the three have sprouted, but I know we can’t eat them the first year. My mom used to make berry pies with the abundant rhubarb. She had a problem of getting the berries from the bush, into the bucket, to the house–not so much a growing problem.(LOL) The rhubarb makes other things just a bit more tart, but it tends to accept the flavors of whatever it is cooked with.
    Can the leaves be composted? The oxalate is powerful stuff–it strips all of the heavy metals, and toxins out of your body–but also the minerals and vitamins we need to survive.I suppose my question is not so much whether they are edible, but could they continue to harm after they are decomposed?

  • katecontinued

    I’ve been planning on making rhubarb pie in memory of my Grandma E, whose birthday was May 17. I did this last year, but this year I decided Matt’s cobbler sounds better (plus I don’t have to make a crust).

  • but I know we can’t eat them the first year.

    This is my first year growing the stuff and I was gonna cut some off and cook it. What does this mean? Am I supposed to leave it alone the first year?

  • monica

    I think the first year is just so that the plant gets established, and probably depends on how yours is growing. If you have a lot, the plant should be able to get enough energy to get started next year. If yours are spindly and not humongous, like mine are ;( I would probably wait. Mine definitely don’t look like they are ready!

  • A favorite around here is strawberry rhubarb jam.
    I just made this delicious cake recipe.
    Rhubarb Cake
    1 cup sugar {I use a bit less}
    1/2 cup shortening {I use butter}
    2 eggs
    2 cups flour
    1 tsp baking soda
    1 tsp cinnamon
    1/4 tsp cloves
    1/4 tsp allspice
    1/3 cup milk
    2 cups rhubarb cut in small pieces
    Cream sugar & shortening/butter til fluffy. Add eggs, mixing well. Combine flour, soda, & spices and add to butter mixture. Add milk and rhubarb pieces. Spread batter into lightly buttered 9×13 inch cake pan. Top with mixture of 1/2 cup sugar + 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon + 1 cup crushed walnuts.
    Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 35 minutes.
    Delicious served with some whipped cream!

    {This time I made mine in a Bundt pan -bake about 40 minutes- and so my topping ended up on the bottom after turning the cake out–it was most delicious all the same!}

  • What a perfect post! I just bough some rhubarb from the store for this recipe: I was planning on making it for dinner tomorrow. This week is my daughter’s Standards of Learning tests (the “no child left behind” tests) and the pressure is on. I want to give her a bit of a sweet treat after dinner to urge her to perform well! Thanks for the post!

  • [...] Rhubarb Recipes | One Green Generation Rhubarb! (tags: rhubarb spring recipes) [...]

  • I JUST made the poached rhubarb!! It’s sooooo delicious. And so easy to make. I had to try it warm. It’s sitting now while we go out for dinner. We’ll pick up that fair trade vanilla ice cream on the way home. Thanks!!

  • [...] Poached Rhubarb with Ice Cream (recipe slightly adapted from One Green Generation) [...]

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