rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb


Do extras in films really mutter rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb when they’re pretending to have a conversation? Whether they do or not, meals here are a bit rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb.

I like to have a clump of rhubarb in the garden that, with little effort on my part, reliably pops up every year. First the tiniest spear emerges, followed by a bright green crinkly leaf that gradually unfolds as the rhubarb rises from the ground.

We seem to have two different varieties; one produces long, slim deep pink stems and the other stout, green stems with just a touch of red that grow almost as thick as my wrist if I leave them for too long.

Both varieties are doing very well at the moment so I’m cooking rather a lot of rhubarb. Mostly I just mix it with some sugar and a couple of tablespoons of water and bung it in the oven for 15 minutes to make a compote. The compote can be eaten on its own, with yoghurt or folded into a custard and cream mixture to make a fool, though I only use the red rhubarb for that as the green stems make a rather sludgy looking fool.  I’ve frozen plenty of rhubarb crumbles so that on cold winter days I can quickly heat them up to to eat surrounded by a moat of custard.

Here’s five more ways to use rhubarb.

1. Rhubarb with Strawberry Gin.

Nigel Slater has a recipe for cooking rhubarb in sloe gin, which makes a gloriously deep coloured dish. This variation is pinker and the strawberry taste shines through making it a little more summery.

Chop 750g rhubarb into short lengths, toss into a glass dish with 100g caster sugar and 120ml of Strawberry Gin. I cook it in a hot oven (about 220C) for 15 minutes (plus another five minutes if I’m using the thick stemmed variety) until the fruit is tender though NS recommends a good forty minutes at 160C. Eat warm or cold.

2.Rhubarb and Custard Cake.

Margot posted a recipe for a delicious looking Berry and Custard Cake but as I have no berries, I substituted rhubarb. I used only 300g rhubarb as I thought it might be a bit soggy with more. This is a wonderfully forgiving cake if you (a) forget to add the eggs so have to take the tin out of the oven and tip the mixture back in the bowl and (b) try to take it out of the tin before it’s cooled and then gather up the sloppy custardy mess and plonk it back.

3. Rhubarb Jelly.

rhubarb jelly recipe
4. Rhubarb Bitters

A subtle aromatic bitters to add a little joy to your lemonade and lime. Find my recipe here.

5. Rhubarb Flatbread

rhubarb and sesame flatbread

I was looking for different ways to use up the rhubarb and came across Johanna’s
Rhubarb and Raspberry Foccacia at Green Gourmet Giraffe . A little more searching and I turned up all sorts of variations. The addition of sesame seeds comes from The Shed: The Cookbook

This is surprisingly good with smoked mackerel or ham and I’d happily eat this warm for breakfast.

rhubarb flatbread recipeRhubarb Flatbread Recipe

 Next on the list is Rhubarb Relish and possibly raw rhubarb in a salad, though I’m not convinced about the raw rhubarb. Do you eat raw rhubarb?


40 thoughts on “rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb

  1. Happy rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb day Anne! 🙂 I have never head flatbreads with rhubarb in and yours looks great!
    Sign me up for a Rhubarb with Strawberry Gin right now! 🙂

  2. I love rhubarb and mine is finally ready to cut. I have enough for 2 recipes this year. I am agonizing over what to make, I want it to be really good! I covet my rhubarb, is that weird?

  3. I have a green variety which like yours can grow thick stems if left too long. This year it is absolutely rampant and I’ll be looking into these recipes with great interest, so thank you 🙂

  4. I saw a recipe yesterday for a red rice salad with very finely sliced raw rhubarb, parsley, basil, red onion, chicory and a French dressing which sounded interesting. We don’t have enough for anything other than the occasional crumble yet. The flatbread sounds delicious. Thanks for the recipes.

    1. The red rice salad does sound interesting. I think if the rhubarb is mixed with other things it will be okay. I put some chopped rhubarb into a bolognaise sauce the other day (I needed to stretch it and had no tomatoes) and nobody noticed anything amiss.

  5. Wow I am amazed how thick your rhubarb grows – and impressed. I love rhubarb and often find myself stewing it and eating it with yoghurt (because I am too lazy to make custard even though I use a powder). I do love that flatbread and am pleased it worked for you – the sesame seeds on top sound really good too – will have to try a seedy version

    1. When our raspberries are ready, I’m going to try your version. Mine is a little less fruity than yours so with the sesame seeds make it almost savoury.

  6. I would love to get some of your rhubarb. My rhubarb plant is struggling and produces only a few green stems. I tried growing the red variety but it doesn’t like our climate. To make a pie I had to pay four dollars a pound. Have fun trying out all those different recipes.

  7. Lovely post Anne, bookmarked and I am going to try your Rhubarb and Custard cake. I’ve forgotten eggs in the past!

  8. I’m liking the sound of the rhubarb flatbread. And thinking of quite a few things it might taste good with. Thank you for the recipe Anne

  9. Your recipes are always so innovative without being gimmicky! I never fail to read a recipe post here without wanting to give something a go right away. Today it’s the rhubarb and custard cake! Tomorrow it might be the flatbread and / or the gin! My rhubarb is very prolific but sadly is of the green-tinged-with-red variety that tastes pretty good but always goes that rather unattractive brown sludgy colour when cooked. I don’t think the soft brown sugar I favour helps much either on the colour front! Have a lovely weekend Anne! E x

    1. I’ve sometimes resorted to a few drops of red food colouring for Rhubarb Fool, which perked it up no end – though I’m not sure even that would counteract the brown sugar. We should eat it blindfold and savour the taste.

  10. Some very inventive ways of using rhubarb Anne. Our daughter has an allotment near by, she harvested her first rhubarb crop this year. She made a very nice desert with it, I cannot remember what she called it , but it contained meringue and lots of cream! ( I christened it ‘Poor mans Eaton Mess)

  11. I need to plant rhubarb. I thought I was too far south for it to thrive until my gardening neighbor planted it and it’s done marvelously! The stores and farm markets sell it, but it would be nice to have my own, and your recipes are so tempting, I may have to buy rhubarb tonight at the grocery!

      1. I think that’s the case here, looking at my neighbor’s garden. I had tired it when I first started and a particularly hot dry summer must have killed it.

  12. I always adore your illustrated recipes Anne – have you ever thought of producing a book in this style? Very talented indeed! I can imagine how well the rhubarb would substitute for the berries in the custard cake… and it really is quite forgiving isn’t it. I cut into mine while it was still quite warm with effects similar to what you experienced too – I’m usually quite a patient person, but not when it comes to cake! 😉 Bookmarking this post for next rhubarb season.

    1. I was so keen to make the cake after I’d read your recipe that I didn’t have time to let it cool and thought we’d eat it as a warm pudding. After it had spectacularly flopped everywhere, I scooped it back into the tin and left to cool properly and it was fine the next day.

  13. So delicious, and so varied! We do grow rhubarb here, but I think it likes and English climate better than a Sydney one, it never gets very big. My mother used to grow it in the UK with a chimney pot over it, and feed it with lots of cow manure – it grew very well!

  14. So much rhubarb goodness Anne, the flat-bread is pure genius! I have had no luck growing it myself. In the summer it just literally melts in the hot sun and disappears. I adore your illustrated recipes too…have you taught yourself this lovely art?

  15. Not heard of (rhubarb) bitters before. Seems an interesting thing to make. As do rhubarb flatbreads. I’ve actually got some flatbread dough ready for cooking but would chives and rhubarb go together (chives already in the mix)?

    My rhubarb stalks never seem to get very big. I thought it was because they needed more manure on them but going on your description, it could simply be the variety…

  16. Ooh I just love rhubarb. I was amazed the other week to find a colleague had brought a big bag in and left it in the kitchen with a “help yourself” sign and barely anybody touched it! I grabbed a few stalks, then at the end of the day went bag for more when it was still there :D. We have the remains of a lovely apple, rhubarb and orange crumble in our kitchen right now!

  17. I love rhubarb! I default just to stewing it for topping my breakfast muesli or oats. I love it.
    I loved reading your experience with the rhubarb and custard cake. it really sounds like something I would do!!

  18. Mmm… my mouth just watered. I’m still waiting on rhubarb from my farm share so I haven’t made anything just yet, but crumbles are always on the list. I’ve recently added walnuts to my crumble toppings to switch things up a bit… On the must try rhubarb list however, is Jamie Oliver’s sweet & sour pork (well, I think that’s the name of the recipe anyways…) He braises pork belly in rhubarb and honey and does something very Asian with it, if memory serves me correctly. But it looked brilliant! Hope you are enjoying spring on the farm 🙂 x

    1. That sounds interesting – I’ll have to look it up. I use rhubarb sometimes instead of apple sauce with pork but that’s as daring as I get.

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