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Holy mother of G*d rhubarb!!

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.

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  1. 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

      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!

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

      1. 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

          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. 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

            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

              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

                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

                  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

                    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

                      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

                    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

                      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

                        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

                        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

                        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

                          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

                            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

                              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

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

                        2. Rhubarb Soup!

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

                          1. 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

                              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

                                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

                            2. 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. 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

                                    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

                                      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

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

                                  2. 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. 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

                                        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. 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. 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

                                              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

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

                                                1. re: greedygirl

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

                                                  1. re: coll

                                                    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

                                                      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

                                                        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

                                                          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

                                                            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

                                                              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. 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

                                                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

                                                  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. 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!