Rhubarb is a fantastic thing to grow – very easy and low maintenance – plus it lends itself very well to all kinds of dishes, from the sweet to the savoury and pretty much everything in between. If you want to know what to make with rhubarb, then read on for our best tips!
What to make with rhubarb
Rhubarb is very easy to grow, and to cook. It is an unfussy plant and this is reflected in the recipes you can make with it – rhubarb cooks easily, and is very simple to freeze and store too.
Using your rhubarb in jams and chutneys is a great way to preserve the taste of your favourite summer vegetable for many months to come.
A. Sweet recipes
This is the most simple way of preparing rhubarb, and you can use it as the base for crumbles and puddings.
- Roughly chop 500g of rhubarb into 2cm pieces.
- Place into a saucepan with 100g of sugar and 50ml of water and cover with a lid.
- Cook for 15-20 minutes, until the rhubarb has completely broken down and become soft.
This recipe is perfect for stirring into yoghurt, adding to breakfast cereals, or ladling over ice cream. You can also mix it into cake mixtures, to add a bit more flavour. Compote is a great base, so get experimenting!
Crumbles are a hearty pudding, perfect for the cold winter months. You can eat them on their own or add cream, ice cream or custard depending on how decadent you like your dessert!
- You can either use compote for the filling of your crumble, or make a new batch by adding 500g of chopped rhubarb to a pan with 100g of sugar and simmering for 15 minutes until soft.
- Pour the mixture into a medium sized baking dish, ensuring that you leave enough space for the crumble topping.
- Rub together 140g of self raising flour and 85g of butter until the mixture is soft and crumb-like.
- Add 50g of light brown sugar and mix with your hands to combine (you can add 50g of chopped walnuts, or other nuts, at this stage if you like).
- Sprinkle the crumble mix over the rhubarb, and bake at gas mark 6 for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
Rhubarb makes a great jam. The flavour is fruity and delicate, and it is a very easy process – perfect for those who are beginners at making jam.
- Place 4lb of rhubarb, roughly chopped, 950g of sugar, 300l of water and 1 lemon (cut this in half, squeeze the juice and add the juice plus skins to the mix) into a bowl.
- Wait an hour, then add the whole mixture to a pan. Bring to the boil, then cook at a medium to high heat stirring constantly, for about 15 minutes. Skim off any foam that rises to the surface with a slotted spoon.
- Reduce the heat to a slow simmer after 15 minutes, then keep the pan at a constant heat, stirring constantly to make sure the jam doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
- Simmer for 30 minutes, then check to see if your jam is ready. Place a saucer into the freezer until it is really cold, then drop a spoonful of the jam onto the saucer. Leave it a minute or so, then push the edges with a teaspoon. If it wrinkles then it is ready; if it is still too liquid then continue to simmer for another 5 minutes.
- Once the jam is set, remove the lemon halves and seeds then ladle the jam into jars that have been sterilised in the oven.
- Allow to cool, then seal and label the jars. You can store this jam for a long time to come – if you can leave it alone!
Adding ginger to your rhubarb jam will bring another whole new dimension to your preserves – if you like the extra heat from ginger then feel free to add cubed or grated fresh ginger to this recipe.
B. Savoury dishes
Although rhubarb is primarily used in sweet dishes, it is also great for the savoury sided of things, where it adds a touch of tartness and a fruity flavour.
Chutney is a great vessel for rhubarb, as you can make it as sweet, spicy or savoury as you like, depending on what you add to it. This is the basics of the rhubarb chutney recipe, to which you can add other flavours as you wish.
Chutney is a fantastic way to use up a glut of vegetables or fruit, plus it is a tasty addition to any meal. Rhubarb chutney is easy to make, and will showcase the deliciousness of your harvest to its best ability.
- Take 355g of rhubarb cut into 1/5 inch slices, 1 large chopped onion, 1tsp fresh ginger (grated), and add to a large pan.
- Add 4tbsp of sugar, 3tbsp of cider vinegar, the juice and zest of half an orange, 2tbsp of raisins and quarter tsp of Cinnamon and Allspice.
- Simmer for around 10 minutes until the liquid is released and thickened. Stir occasionally, but take care to not break up the chunks, as rhubarb disintegrates quickly with cooking.
- If it is not thick enough after 10 minutes then simmer for a bit longer, taking care that the mixture doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
Fermenting anything is a great way to use and to store it – fermenting preserves vegetables and their nutritional benefits, as well as adding more gut-friendly probiotics as well. Rhubarb makes a very good ferment, and it is very easy to make:
- Take 1lb rhubarb, 1.5tsp of salt, 30g of dried cranberries, 1tbsp grated fresh ginger, and the ground seeds of 4-6 cloves of cardamom.
- Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl, then add the salt and massage the mixture for 5 minutes to allow the salt to remove the moisture from the rhubarb.
- Cover the bowl with a tea towel and allow to rest for an hour.
- Add the rhubarb mixture, along with the brine that will have appeared, to a wide mouthed jar.
- Press the rhubarb mixture beneath the liquid, and place a smaller weighted jar on top of the mixture to ensure that it all remains submerged.
- Seal the jar and leave it in a cool, dark place for 5-6 days. Taste it after this time; it should be tart and fragrant, but if you want a more “rhubarby” flavour then leave it a little longer.
- Once it has reached the desired taste, transfer the jar to the fridge and eat at your leisure – the cold will stop the fermenting process and keep the ferment stable.
This fantastic video showcases a lot of the different things you can make with rhubarb:
There are a great many things that you can do with rhubarb (including a gin), besides admiring it growing profusely in your veggie patch. Get your apron on and get creating!