Rhubarb ready

Rhubarb

Spring farmer's markets in the north can be sparsely-endowed affairs, especially after a brutal winter like the previous one. A reliable staple that can always be found at the market, however, is rhubarb. The bright red stalks and gigantic green leaves usher in a season of pies, crisps and other treats from this tart vegetable that is mostly treated like a fruit.

If you have a rhubarb plant, after some time you can run out of ideas for what to do with it, as rhubarb is a prolific producer. You can, of course, freeze it for later, but there are many great alternatives to the standard rhubarb desserts to take advantage of the fresh produce. Rhubarb makes a great addition to drinks both with alcohol, like a very British cocktail and rhubarb margaritas, and without alcohol, like rhubarb ginger cooler and rhubarb lassi. Melissa Clark at the NY Times is making rhubarb shakes featuring rhubarb compote, honey, yogurt and rosewater, and topped with chopped pistachios. 

Rhubarb works great in savory applications as well. You can try potato salad with a rhubarb and balsamic dressing, a savory rhubarb and chipotle goat cheese pizza, rhubarb-ginger pulled pork, or shaved rhubarb and chard crostini. Since spring also marks the start of grilling season, what better to make than a side of beans, particulary this rhubarb bean bake from Whole Foods Market via Food52's list of great sweet and savory rhubarb recipes.

None of this should discourage you from using rhubarb in your baking, however. Numerous rhubarb pies, tarts, and galettes all receive high marks in the EYB Library. What is your favorite rhubarb recipe?

Photo by Darcie Boschee

7 Comments

  • veronicafrance  on  5/30/2014 at 11:37 AM

    I recently had a fabulous rhubarb and ginger Eton mess at the Magpie in Whitby (Yorkshire), made with bright pink forced rhubarb. I love rhubarb, but you can't get it fresh where I live, so I don't get to eat it very often.

  • Lee  on  5/30/2014 at 6:06 PM

    Thanks for the inspiration!

  • goodfruit  on  5/30/2014 at 6:37 PM

    my fave rhubarb recipe is rhubarb custard pie, a recipe I clipped from our local paper years ago

  • darcie_b  on  5/30/2014 at 6:51 PM

    Veronica, you're the second person who's mentioned Eton mess--I hadn't heard of it before. I must try it!

  • Jane  on  5/30/2014 at 7:46 PM

    I love rhubarb and my favorite recipe is a rhubarb and cornmeal cake from Nigella's How to be a Domestic Goddess. The muscat mascarpone cream she serves it with elevates it to a really special dessert.

  • veronicafrance  on  5/31/2014 at 5:51 AM

    @darcie_b: it's normally made with strawberries or raspberries, but the poached rhubarb and ginger were a winning combination! Rhubarb is good in trifle too.

  • janeths  on  6/26/2014 at 8:04 PM

    Rhubarb crisp, stewed rhubarb with peanut butter on toast, rhubarb pie.

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