Rhubarb is one of the seasonal ingredients of early spring. But many people are stumped when it comes to working out what to do with their rhubarb harvest from a polytunnel or elsewhere in the garden. Of course, rhubarb can simply be stewed and served in the traditional way with ice cream or custard. But you may be surprised by just how versatile this vegetable (yes, vegetable) can be. To help you make the most of your rhubarb harvest, we’ve come up with this list of interesting recipe ideas:
Rhubarb for Breakfast
How about a rhubarb compote? A simple mix of stewed and blended rhubarb with honey (or another sweetener and perhaps a little lemon juice, this can be served with pancakes or waffles, or with some natural yogurt.
You could also make some rhubarb jam, or rhubarb curd to spread on your toast in the morning – not just in rhubarb season but throughout the whole year.
You can also add rhubarb to healthy breakfast muffins or breakfast bars alongside other healthy ingredients like oats, nuts and seeds.
Rhubarb for Lunch
Like a sandwich for lunch? Make a spicy chutney with your rhubarb to complement your sandwiches and make them far more interesting. Spiced rhubarb chutneys go well with cheese, but can also be used with vegan ingredients.
You can also use rhubarb to add a little tangy depth to a mixed leafy salad. Cut rhubarb into fine strands and boil it before adding a few strings to your salad.
Rhubarb for Dinner
A salad with rhubarb strands can be a great accompaniment for oily fish like salmon. You can also add its tart taste to salmon as an interesting glaze. If you do not eat fish, a rhubarb and honey glaze could also be added to a nut roast or similar.
Roast rhubarb in honey sauce can work well as a side dish for pork, or again, for a vegetarian meal such as a nut roast or vegetable loaf.
Another interesting idea is to add plenty of fresh rhubarb to a veggie burger, along with pulses, oats, and plenty of herbs and spices to counterbalance the tartness of the vegetable.
Finally, how about a rhubarb and wild rice pilaf, or another interesting rice based dish, where the tartness of the rhubarb can add a pleasing complexity to the dish.
Sweet Recipes For Dessert To Make With Your Rhubarb Harvest
Of course, when added to a range of sweet recipes, rhubarb really comes into its own, and its fruity flavours come to the fore. Of course, a rhubarb pie or rhubarb crumble is very traditional. But there are also plenty of other ways to use up your rhubarb harvest.
For example, how about a rhubarb cake? There are a huge range of different recipes to choose from. Rhubarb streusel cake is one excellent example. How about rhubarb upside down cake? Or some rhubarb marzipan cupcakes?
Feeling more ambitious? How about a rhubarb cheesecake (or vegan ‘cheesecake’)? Why not try making some rhubarb lemon macarons or a pistachio and rhubarb pavlova?You can adapt plenty of fruity dessert recipes to use rhubarb instead of fruits.
Drinks To Make With Your Rhubarb Harvest
Finally, how about making a rhubarb cocktail or fruit-infused alcoholic drink for the end of a long and tiring day?
You could make a rhubarb bellini prosecco, rhubarb gin rickey, or rhubarb vodka, for example.
You can keep things alcohol free too, with recipes for rhubarb lemonade, rhubarb and ginger juice, or a rhubarb smoothie – to name just a few ideas.
Rhubarb is a far more versatile ingredient than you may imagine. So think about trying something different with your rhubarb harvest this year. Got some of your own ideas? Feel free to share them in the comments below.
Elizabeth Waddington is a writer and green living consultant living in Scotland. Permaculture and sustainability are at the heart of everything she does, from designing gardens and farms around the world, to inspiring and facilitating positive change for small companies and individuals.
She also works on her own property, where she grows fruit and vegetables, keeps chickens and is working on the eco-renovation of an old stone barn.