For daily wit & wisdom, sign up for the Almanac newsletter.
No content available.
Ready for rhubarb recipes? In pioneer days, rhubarb was literally called the “pie plant” (for obvious reasons). The tart flavor bakes nicely into pies, crumbles, bread, and cake, and also adds a tangy flavor to savory dishes. You can also try making a rhubarb julep! See 15 ways to use rhubarb.
Rhubarb is a perennial plant with stalks that resemble celery. But here, the difference ends. The tart, sour flavor of rhubarb is like nothing else. In the garden, rhubarb is an ornamental vegetable; however, it’s cooked and eaten as a fruit in the kitchen thanks to how well it works as a complement to sweet ingredients.
Many folks combine rhubarb with strawberries, blueberries, or other fruits to balance its tartness. However, there are some of us rhubarb fanatics who prefer the unadulterated wonderful sour taste of pure rhubarb. Don’t over-sugar if you don’t want to hide its tart spirit!
A very moist quick bread best suited for breakfast or tea time. After baking, let the loaf sit for 10 to 15 minutes before turning it out of the pan. Cool completely—preferably overnight—before slicing.
Serve this tangy condiment alongside chicken or turkey. Or, spread on bread or crackers as an appetizer with goat cheese and apples.
Rhubarb Sauce for Savory Dishes
Rhubarb sauce works in savory dishes, too, adding a wonderfully tangy flavor to chicken, pork, lamb, or game. Here is a simple sauce to heat up:
Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large saucepan. Add a 1/2 cup of chopped onion and 1 minced garlic clove. Cook for a minute. Stir in 1 cup of chicken broth. Then add 2 cups of chopped rhubarb, 2 tablespoons of brown sugar, and 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried). Simmer 5 to 7 minutes.
Optional: Stir in a tablespoon or two of melted butter for a more buttery sauce.
Did you know that the word “rhubarb” has other meanings?
It’s known that mumbling “rhubarb, rhubarb” when you have nothing else to say at parties will get you by (it closely mimics background chatter).
“Rhubarb!” is also an expression of exasperation used especially on the baseball field.
Catherine Boeckmann loves nature, stargazing, and gardening so it’s not surprise that she and The Old Farmer’s Almanac found each other. She leads digital content for the Almanac website, and is also a certified master gardener in the state of Indiana. Read More from Catherine Boeckmann