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Holy mother of G*d rhubarb!!

sasha1 May 14, 2010 03:08 PM

My MIL brought me a good 3-4 pounds of rhubard from her garden last weekend, and I've been looking for recipes on how to use it up.

I kept seeing crisp after pie after crisp on epicurious, with a few chutneys thrown in for good measure. I settled on one pie/cake, which says for the filling to throw together some chunked rhubarb and brown sugar and then make the dough. I tried it just now for the sweet/sour balance and OMG is it good. I'm not making the cake. I'm just going to eat big bowls of rhubard with brown sugar until the crop runs out this summer.

If you haven't tried it - it is heavenly. Cold and crunchy, sweet and sour, and with that wonderful floral scent. Who knew? You don't need to cook the stuff. I feel like Newton right after he got whacked by that apple.

  1. heidipie May 18, 2010 09:27 PM

    This is my first rhubarb season, and I'm making up for lost time. I'm usually either roasting it or macerating it in sugar for an hour or so, then sticking it on the stove for five minutes. Last week's pigout was make-your-own-trifle-sundae: leftover cubed lemon ginger pound cake, vanilla pastry cream, and roasted rhubarb combined with minced strawberries. Wow!

    1. buttertart May 18, 2010 09:29 AM

      My mom used to make rhubarb sauce (as well as pies) - like applesauce - just stew a lot of it in enough water to get it going, until it's completely softened, then stir in sugar to taste. Chill it and eat it cold with hot buttered whole wheat toast. An odd but comforting texture, a bit slippery. Quite delicious.

      2 Replies
      1. re: buttertart
        bushwickgirl May 18, 2010 10:16 PM

        Interesting how it's a bit slippery, almost glutinous, in an odd way. Love it nevertheless.

        Many good rhubarb ideas on this thread, btw.

        1. re: bushwickgirl
          buttertart May 19, 2010 07:57 AM

          Exactly, a bit like okra, slimy in a good way. And yes there are many good ideas. I'm going to put a plant or two in my garden - we had a patch about 12' long on our back yard when I was a kid, and I miss it.

      2. collegekitchen May 17, 2010 05:34 PM

        Yum rhubarb! I just "discovered" it for myself, as there wasn't very much of it in the South where I grew up. I made a delicious chilled soup with strawberries (def. a dessert soup) topped with mascarpone and black pepper. Found the recipe somewhere random, like About.com.

        I know Bittman also has a super-simple recipe for chilled rhubarb soup with ginger. Would love to try that too.

        Enjoy your three pounds!

        9 Replies
        1. re: collegekitchen
          Full tummy May 17, 2010 07:23 PM

          Speaking of rhubarb and ginger, perhaps the most memorable dessert I ever ate was a divine rhubarb ginger napoleon. Rhubarb and ginger are quite the match!

          1. re: Full tummy
            greedygirl May 18, 2010 01:05 AM

            Rhubarb and ginger creme brulee is amazing, according to my friend.

            1. re: greedygirl
              coll May 18, 2010 06:42 AM

              I like to make curried rhubarb stew, with lots of ginger, I could live on it!

              1. re: coll
                Full tummy May 18, 2010 06:58 AM

                I am assuming that is a savoury, not sweet, dish. Is this right? If so, what else do you eat it with?

                1. re: Full tummy
                  coll May 18, 2010 07:15 AM

                  There are red lentils or chickpeas in it: I eat it over some type of rice, or else use naan bread to scoop it. Yogurt to top everything off. I think it's a complete meal, I have lots of other fruity things in it, like banana, dried fruits, apples or whatever I have around, and I often add chicken broth, if not coconut juice. Never make it exactly the same twice.

                  1. re: coll
                    Full tummy May 18, 2010 07:27 AM

                    Oh, that sounds good, I have been thinking about trying to use rhubarb in a savoury dish... Is it your own recipe, or did you find it somewhere? Care to share? :-)

                    1. re: Full tummy
                      coll May 18, 2010 07:37 AM

                      I started with a recipe from the NY Times, I think Mark Bittmann, and then just kept adding things. Sort of like Stone Soup.

                      I cut up 4 to 6 rhubarb stalks into 1 inch pieces. I also use other veg/fruits I have on hand, like bananas, apples/applesauce, or berries (dried is fine). I add a lb of red lentils or chick peas. I sweeten with honey, or agave nectar, or sugar in the raw. If I have some chutney around I toss that in too. A handful of nuts for crunch. Add a couple of cups of broth or juice (I like to use roasted coconut juice or passionfruit, but plain ol' OJ would work). Then I season with lots of curry powder, tumeric, garam masala, some ginger, fennel or mustard seed, a cinnamon stick and a bay leaf. Also mint and cilantro if my garden is in bloom. Put everything in a pot and simmer 30 to 60 minutes. I like to serve on brown rice with yogurt on top. Or it's a nice dip for naan bread.

                      1. re: coll
                        Full tummy May 18, 2010 07:39 AM

                        Wow, sounds healthy and delicious! Thanks...

                        Edit: Did a search for rhubarb and Bittman and found this rhubarb lentil stew with Indian spices recipe. Perhaps this was the start of yours...


                        1. re: Full tummy
                          coll May 18, 2010 08:08 AM

                          I make up a big pot and freeze it in portions, to eat when I feel I need to cut back with something healthy. That looks like the original recipe, I think I may have combined it with my vegetarian curry recipe, so feel free to play around with it. I noticed in the comments that I should saute the mustard seed and spices before adding to the pot, I'll try to remember to do that next time.

        2. l
          laliz May 17, 2010 05:25 PM

          we ate it all the time as kids, it just grew wild in Pennslyvania. Just pulled it out of the ground, no sugar or anything.

          I have never cooked with it, but I love the rhubarb served at Mrs. Knotts Chicken Dinner Restaurant at Knott's Berry Farm.

          1. JerryMe May 17, 2010 01:38 PM

            I am jealous - haven't seen rhubarb at the markets, yet. I adore rhubarb. Just saw a recipe for rhubarb upside down cake in Martha Stewart's magazine (May edition). Along w/ rhubarb custard and rhubarb and meringue pie. . .oh - I miss rhubarb! You struck gold!

            Mom used to make rhubarb and strawberry pie growing up. Yum!

            2 Replies
            1. re: JerryMe
              Full tummy May 17, 2010 01:45 PM

              Oh gosh, it is so easy to grow... if you live in the right climate, I suppose. Just put it in the ground and ignore.

              I have one prolific plant that will keep me in the rhubarb for the next few weeks. Hubby doesn't like it much, so all the more for me. :0)

              1. re: JerryMe
                ChristinaMason May 18, 2010 12:19 AM

                That cake sounds good, but golly, she loves butter: http://www.marthastewart.com/recipe/r...

              2. al b. darned May 16, 2010 07:01 PM

                Rhubarb Ice Cream

                Rhubarb Sauce

                1-1/4 to 1-1/2 cups sugar
                1 tablespoon water
                1 tablespoon finely shredded orange peel
                6 cups rhubarb sliced 1/2 inch thick

                In a saucepan, mix sugar, water and orange peel. Bring to a boil. Add rhubarb slices. Simmer, uncovered, about 8 minutes or until rhubarb is tender and mixture is thickened, stirring as necessary to prevent sticking. Cool; chill in the refrigerator.

                Makes 3 1/2 cups

                Ice Cream

                6 cups half-and-half
                1 cup sugar
                2 teaspoons vanilla
                3 1/2 cups Rhubarb Sauce

                In a saucepan, heat half-and- half over medium heat till bubbles begin to appear around edge of the pan.

                Slowly pour in sugar; cook and stir for 2 to 3 minutes or till sugar is dissolved. Immediately place pan in a pan of ice water. Cool to room temperature.

                Stir in vanilla. Transfer mixture to a large bowl. Cover and chill for 4 to 24 hours.

                Stir Rhubarb Sauce into cream mixture. Transfer mixture to a 1-gallon ice cream freezer. Freeze according to manufacturer's directions. Makes 3 quarts ice cream.

                1. t
                  themags May 15, 2010 05:22 PM

                  I'm sure I posted this on CH a couple of years ago but rhubarb ice is sublime: juice the rhubarb in a vegetable juicer, make (and combine with) a sugar syrup (rhubarb needs sugar!!) and put in a tupperware container in the freezer. Fork through every few hours to break up the ice crystals. Serve the ice (or call it granita if you wanna be posh) with a chilled shot of vodka on the side. The ice is the most beautiful delicate shade of pink! (Inspired by a dinner at St John, London with a pear sorbet served with eau de vie)

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: themags
                    Full tummy May 15, 2010 06:54 PM

                    There's a recipe for rhubarb granita here:


                    Looks amazing!

                    1. re: themags
                      anakalia May 15, 2010 06:54 PM

                      I've been dying to make a rhubarb cardamom bread pudding. Just need to find the rhubarb, which is on my to-do list for tomorrow. I've also seen some ricotta-rhubarb crostinis on restaurant menus, and I'm hoping to try to make my own, of those, as well...

                      1. re: anakalia
                        jvanderh May 15, 2010 10:02 PM

                        I just tried the raw rhubarb mixed with brown sugar, as I had some rhubarb languishing in the fridge. It was kind of good!

                        1. re: jvanderh
                          sasha1 May 17, 2010 11:25 AM

                          Glad you liked it! It's the spring version of celery w/pb...

                    2. q
                      Querencia May 15, 2010 03:50 PM

                      I am always happy to hear that somebody has discovered rhubarb as it's been kind of forgotten in recent years. It tastes like fruit even though it isn't, is so welcome in the early spring when we're all getting desperate for fruit, and it's such a pretty color. Try cuttin it into 1-inch lengths and adding just a little water and some sugar and cooking it slowly for about five minutes to make rhubarb sauce. You can have it with your main course, like applesauce, or on cake with ice cream. BTW if you have a yard, plant some rhubarb roots, feed well with compost and manure, and you'll have a rhubarb bed for fifty years. But don't eat the leaves---they're poisonous.

                      1. h
                        Harters May 15, 2010 10:57 AM

                        And don't forget it's use with savoury dishes say as a sauce when you want something sharp to go with a fatty meat like duck or pork. Excellent with mackerel instead of the more usual gooseberry sauce.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: Harters
                          bushwickgirl May 15, 2010 03:58 PM

                          That is interesting; I don't think rhubarb is often, if ever, combined with duck or pork in the US; it certainly works with both meats. I wish gooseberries were more mainstream in this country as well.

                          1. re: bushwickgirl
                            The Chowhound Team May 16, 2010 07:57 AM

                            We split off some discussion about growing goosberry plants to a new topic on the gardening board. You can find that thread here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/708267

                            1. re: The Chowhound Team
                              bushwickgirl May 16, 2010 04:42 PM

                              Yes, I saw it and thanks!

                        2. Emme May 14, 2010 09:45 PM

                          Rhubarb Soup!

                          Simmer some with brown sugar and vanilla, then stir into oatmeal or top pancakes or waffles.... Or fill doughnuts...

                          1. Bada Bing May 14, 2010 07:01 PM

                            I love rhubarb. But do you mean to say you ate raw rhubarb tossed in brown sugar? That's a surprise, if so. I've got a pound of rhubarb from my garden just now, just a bit too little for a pie. Some alternatives will interest me.

                            15 Replies
                            1. re: Bada Bing
                              bushwickgirl May 14, 2010 07:14 PM

                              I used to eat the raw stalks, dipped in sugar, when I was a kid. I always liked the sour rather than the sweet, but rhubarb requires some sweet to make it palatable. You can freeze it quite successfully, if you don't have enough for a specific recipe.

                              One rhubarb dessert I don't see mentioned here often is rhubarb cream pie. My mom made it, you know, because strawberries and rhubarb don't appear in the same season, or leastwise didn't in our garden. It's essentially a sweetened custard filling made with eggs, sugar and cream, poured over fresh cut rhubarb and baked. It develops a sugary crust and is a nice combination of sweet/sour. The recipe I have is from the 1965 Farm Journal Pie cookbook, which has lot's of other sorts of forgotton pie recipes, including one made with Concord grapes.

                              Chow poster Christina Mason has a delicious recipe for a rhubarb custard cake at her blog. It's easy to put together and you don't need much rhubarb for the recipe:


                              1. re: bushwickgirl
                                greedygirl May 15, 2010 03:40 AM

                                Me too. I found that raw rhubarb can give you a stomach ache, if you eat a lot of it. I much prefer it cooked now.

                                I made a rhubarb and raspberry jam the other day, which is really, really good.

                                1. re: bushwickgirl
                                  alidrum May 15, 2010 05:39 AM

                                  Wow..what a gorgeous custard cake recipe..do you think any fruit could be subbed in until I get my hands on some rhubarb?

                                  1. re: alidrum
                                    bushwickgirl May 15, 2010 06:57 AM

                                    Whatcha got? I bet most fruit would work, stone fruits especially, raspberries or blueberries, but not strawberries, I don't like them baked in cakes; pears or apples in the fall, tossed with brown sugar, even canned fruits like apricots, peaches or pineapple chunks. I suggest canned pineapple because often there's a leavening overreaction with fresh pineapple and chemical leavening agents, which could result in an overflow.

                                    1. re: bushwickgirl
                                      alidrum May 15, 2010 11:55 AM

                                      I think you're right about the strawberries, might get too mushy. Pineapple is a good idea, might try that tomorrow. Once peaches are in season that is a definite. I'll update on the experiments....

                                      1. re: bushwickgirl
                                        ChristinaMason May 15, 2010 05:45 PM

                                        Thanks for mentioning my recipe. I think bushwickgirl's recommendations are right on. Tart apples or small Italian prune plums (also sour) would be good, I think. Pineapple is an interesting twist, too!

                                    2. re: bushwickgirl
                                      BabsW May 15, 2010 06:44 AM

                                      We always ate raw rhubarb dipped in sugar between bites. My grandmother had special little dipping saucers for the sugar, in fact.

                                      We used the same little saucers to dip scallions in salt. lol Yum.

                                      1. re: bushwickgirl
                                        Bada Bing May 15, 2010 07:21 AM

                                        This batch of stocks is really huge (thick, that is). Would you first slice them down the middle? I am supposing that there must be a sweet-tart balance in this raw-eating approach, as with anything one does with rhubarb...

                                        1. re: Bada Bing
                                          bushwickgirl May 15, 2010 07:49 AM

                                          Sure, if they're that big. To be honest, I've never had to split rhubarb stalks, though. Use your good judgement.

                                          The sweet-tart balance with rhubarb is important, as the sour aspect can easily overwhelm the dish. Even if you think you're might be using too much sweetener, you're probably not.

                                          Btw, the flavor of orange goes well with rhubarb and I've used orange juice in rhubarb sauce.

                                        2. re: bushwickgirl
                                          julesrules May 17, 2010 05:40 AM

                                          I make rhubarb sour cream pie - there are a couple of variations on allrecipes.com. I think it's my all-time favourite pie - the filling a little on the sour side and a sweet
                                          crumble topping. I also like rhubarb chutney with grilled cheese sandwiches made with sharp cheddar (there's a recipe on epi with Ginger and balsamic vinegar). It's like a more complex ketchup! And with pork as mentionned - chops or sausages.

                                        3. re: Bada Bing
                                          sasha1 May 14, 2010 10:16 PM

                                          Raw, cut up, tossed with sugar. An absolute revelation. And I preferred it right after tossing with the sugar to a few hours later when it macerated somewhat and got soft and juicy. Try it - you will love it!!!

                                          1. re: Bada Bing
                                            buttertart May 17, 2010 10:59 AM

                                            When I was little we used to eat it raw by the stalk, each bite dipped into a dish of brown sugar as you went. Sitting on the porch steps in the sun.

                                            1. re: buttertart
                                              sasha1 May 17, 2010 11:24 AM

                                              That's how I did it, except I chunked it first. Sooo good. But I do have a question about the way you were doing it. I was under the impression, for some reason, that I need to peel off the outside because it is either poisonous or will upset my stomach. If you were crunching it out of the garden, were you eating it peel on?

                                              1. re: sasha1
                                                JerryMe May 17, 2010 01:40 PM

                                                Actually Sasha - the leaves are to be poisonous and you don't want to eat them, but the ribs are fine and don't need to be peeled (unless you prefer them that way).

                                                1. re: JerryMe
                                                  sasha1 May 17, 2010 03:43 PM

                                                  Thanks for the tip. To think of all the pretty red peels I've been wasting...

                                          2. n
                                            Nyleve May 14, 2010 05:45 PM

                                            Roasted rhubarb. Cut into 2-1inch lengths, toss with however much brown or white sugar you like, roast at 350 - don't stir - until soft and caramelized. Yes, you can eat it plain but why not a little ice cream?"

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: Nyleve
                                              Vetter May 17, 2010 08:13 PM

                                              Oh, yes, yes, YES! I've been eating roasted rhubarb on oatmeal for a week. You know what really put it over the top? I started it with some homemade raspberry vodka. That mostly cooked off, but the syrup was magnificent.

                                            2. s
                                              smartie May 14, 2010 05:33 PM

                                              I love rhubard fool, bet you could find a recipe online.

                                              1. mamaciita May 14, 2010 04:57 PM

                                                I think you're my hero.

                                                I ADORE rhubarb, but am loathe to buy or grow it because I am the only one in my household who likes it/I'm too lazy to bake pies or crisps during the rhubarb season/I can't justify the calories I would undoubtedly consume if I did bake pies or crisps--for myself.

                                                Thank you, THANK you!!

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: mamaciita
                                                  nvcook May 14, 2010 05:06 PM

                                                  I'm so jealous. In addition to beans (Some thing I rarely cook), I'm also supposed to make a rhubarb crisp for 80. Main problem - haven't yet seen ANY rhubarb in my little north central Nv town!

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