June 6, 2012

How to Prepare Rhubarb

Yesterday, I was grocery shopping and saw a beautiful 1kg bunch of rhubarb and I just had to get it. Not only was it cold and rhubarby-weather that day, but Jerome had NEVER tried rhubarb before. So I decided to buy it and stew it in sugar syrup. To skip to the chase, Jerome loved it. He can't wait for me to make it again (He has such a sweet-tooth). I will have to make it for him again with soy icecream or in a pie. It is so much yummier with other desserts. We had leftovers so we stored it in a glass jar in the fridge to have on pikelets or in a pie today.

After putting a status up on Veggieful's Facebook page, I had a few messages asking me how to cook rhubarb and what it tastes like etc... I was amazed at how many people had never tried it before. Rhubarb looks kinda similar to celery, but red in colour. It is very tart, so that is why most recipes prepare it with sweeteners. It should be ripe enough to easily snap in half.

So here is a basic recipe on how to stew and prepare rhubarb. The whole recipe should be to your own taste... alter it to how sweet you would like it. Eat it on its own or read the tips at the bottom of this page for other ways to use rhubarb.

I normally stick with 1/3 cup to 1/2 cup sugar per 500g of rhubarb depending on how sweet you would like it.

1kg of fresh rhubarb
2/3 cup sugar
Enough water to just cover the rhubarb

Remove the leaves before using the rhubarb. The leaves are poisonous


Wash the rhubarb stems and get rid of any dirt.

Discard of the leaves and the ends. 

Chop the stems into 5cm long pieces. On medium heat, add the chopped rhubarb, the sugar and just enough water to cover it all. Stir it until combined and simmer for 10 minutes. 

After 10 minutes or so, the rhubarb should be stewed into a stringy and soft saucy mixture. Pour into a bowl and serve hot or cold. Eat on its own or as a component of another dessert (more ideas and tips are displayed on the bottom of this page).

Store any leftovers in a glass jar and put in the fridge. They will only last for a day or so.

Ways to Use the Rhubarb
  • In tarts and pies
  • As a sauce with soy icecream


  • Remove the leaves before using the rhubarb. The leaves are poisonous. They contain Oxalic Acid which can be poisonous.
  • Always keep rhubarb in the refrigerator
  • Some people peel the rhubarb before use, but I never do. Do whatever you like!
  • Soft rhubarb is too old. Just like how celery gets when it is overripe 
  • You can substitute the sugar for other sweeteners such as agave syrup
  • My mum uses orange rind to make it yummier and to control the tartness
  • I do not blanch rhubarb prior to cooking
  • I normally remove any thick strings. Just like the ones on celery stalks.
  • According too taste.com.au, rhubarb "contains some fibre, calcium, vitamins C, A and K, magnesium, potassium, manganese and a little iron"

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