Getting ready for rhubarb

As the years roll on, I appreciate more and more the rhythm of the seasons and the act of eating within them. Even though supermarkets have all manner of produce available year round, things like December asparagus and January watermelon seem out of place here in the north land, with a flavor that only faintly echoes what the fruit or vegetable should be if at its peak of ripeness.


When I follow the seasons, I feel more connected to what I am eating and it allows me to savor the fleeting moment when the fruit or vegetable that I am tasting is at its best. That is why I stroll out to my garden on the daily, searching for wrinkly green sprouts poking through the barely-thawed ground, which indicate that rhubarb pies, tarts, jams, and sauces are just around the corner.

The only downside, if there is any, to having a rhubarb patch is that you can run out of ideas for what to do with its bounty. You can freeze it for later, but there is only so much space available and rhubarb is a prolific producer. Luckily, the EYB Library contains a plethora of flavorful ways to take advantage of this tart vegetable that thinks it’s a fruit. Naturally, rhubarb is perfect for the aforementioned pies and jams, but there’s a world of other opportunities to showcase its tart flavor. There are no-bake desserts like Rhubarb ripple semifreddo or Rhubarb & honeycomb ice cream. Rhubarb makes a great addition to drinks both with alcohol, like Rhubarb marmalade Collins, and without alcohol, like rhubarb ginger cooler and Rhubarb punch. I’ve enjoyed many “rhubarbaritas” too.

Rhubarb works great in savory applications as well. You can try Couscous greens with rose-pickled rhubarb, a savory rhubarb and chipotle goat cheese pizzaPork chops with rhubarb and grainsRhubarb and potato tray bake, or shaved rhubarb and chard crostini. One of the first things I make with the earliest red stalks is a rhubarb custard pie that is a riff on an old family recipe, but I am sure to try a few of the recipes above as well. What’s your favorite rhubarb dish?

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  • annmartina  on  April 21, 2022

    It’s shocking how cold our spring has been here in Minnesota that my rhubarb is barely poking through the ground on April 21.

    A couple of summers ago I made a rhubarb/plum relish that was divine on things both sweet and savory. As delicious on pork tenderloin as it was mixed into yogurt.

  • Jane  on  April 21, 2022

    When my son lived at home, his birthday cake request each year (end of March) was Nigella’s Rhubarb cornmeal cake. The suggested Muscat mascarpone cream served alongside was essential in my view.

  • cekeith  on  April 22, 2022

    I can’t wait for rhubarb to show up at my grocers. Last year I bought pounds and pounds of it. Rhubarb-Strawberry Crisp (with orange peel) is a favorite, and Rhubarb Pickles from a Martha Stewart Recipe. And I froze two large bags of chopped rhubarb to use over the winter months.

  • Skamper  on  April 23, 2022

    A few years ago I decided I’d like to try to bake with fresh rhubarb, which I’d never done. Unfortunately it’s not as much a spring market staple here in southern California as it is in other regions – I guess our climate isn’t right for it – and, in my experience, is pretty tough to find even in supermarkets here.

  • schambers  on  April 23, 2022

    My favorites are savory Persian recipes such as this:
    although a sweet rhubarb sauce as a topping for plain yoghurt is another one I look forward to.
    The backyard rhubarb is still a couple of weeks from being harvestable, but I am watching it closely.

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