Cooking is an art, and cooking with Rhubarb is a masterpiece. Rhubarb, a vegetable that is commonly mistaken for a fruit, has a bright ruby red color that is sure to catch your eye. This vegetable is versatile, it can be used in sweet or savory dishes, and there is a dish for everyone to enjoy. From pies to cheesecakes, to compotes and crisps, the options are endless. If you love cooking and experimenting with new flavors, you should definitely try to cook with rhubarb. In this article, we will explore some delicious ways to use rhubarb in your cooking, so prepare to be inspired by the versatility of this underrated vegetable.
What is Rhubarb?
If you’re not already familiar with rhubarb, you might be surprised to learn that it is actually a vegetable and not a fruit. The stalks of the rhubarb plant are used in cooking, particularly in sweet dishes due to their tart and slightly acidic flavor. Rhubarb is often paired with sweeter fruits like strawberries or raspberries to balance out its flavor.
Varieties of Rhubarb
There are a few different varieties of rhubarb that you might come across in your cooking adventures. The most common variety is likely the crimson or red rhubarb, which has deep red stalks and a slightly sweeter taste than other varieties. Green rhubarb has a more tangy and sour flavor and is often paired with sweeter fruits to balance out its taste. Finally, there is also a variety of rhubarb called champagne rhubarb which has a delicate pink color and a sweeter, more delicate flavor.
Why Should You Cook with Rhubarb?
Rhubarb is a versatile ingredient that can be used in sweet and savory dishes, from pies and jams to sauces and marinades. Not only does it add a tangy flavor, but it also provides several health benefits, making it a great addition to your diet.
Rich in Nutrients
Rhubarb is a good source of several vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, potassium, calcium, and magnesium. These nutrients are essential for the growth and repair of the body, helping maintain healthy bones, muscles, and tissues.
- Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps strengthen the immune system and fight off infections.
- Potassium plays a role in regulating blood pressure, while also helping the muscles and nerves function properly.
- Calcium is vital for maintaining strong bones and teeth, as well as ensuring proper muscle and nerve function.
- Magnesium is necessary for maintaining a healthy heart rhythm, as well as promoting muscle and nerve function.
Low in Calories
If you’re watching your weight, rhubarb is a great option as it is low in calories and high in fiber. One cup of chopped rhubarb contains only 26 calories, but provides 2.2 grams of fiber. Fiber helps keep you feeling full for longer and aids in digestion.
May Have Anti-inflammatory Properties
Rhubarb contains several compounds that may have anti-inflammatory effects, such as anthocyanins, flavonoids, and polyphenols. Inflammation is linked to several chronic diseases, including heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
Keep in mind that rhubarb leaves contain oxalic acid, which can be toxic in large amounts. Be sure to only use the stalks and avoid consuming the leaves.
What Are Some Popular Dishes that Use Rhubarb?
If you’re looking to try something new in your cooking, why not experiment with rhubarb? This versatile ingredient can add a sweet and tangy flavor to a range of dishes. Here are a few popular ideas to get you started:
Sweet dishes are where rhubarb really shines. Here are a few classic ideas:
- Rhubarb Pie: Rhubarb pie is a classic dish that many people love. The tartness of the rhubarb pairs well with the sweetness of the crust and filling.
- Rhubarb Crumble: Rhubarb crumble is a simple and satisfying dessert. You can make it with just a few ingredients, and it’s perfect for serving with ice cream or whipped cream.
- Rhubarb Cake: Rhubarb cake is a great way to use up leftover rhubarb. It’s moist, flavorful, and easy to make.
Rhubarb isn’t just for sweet dishes. It can also be used in savory recipes to add a unique flavor. Here are a few ideas:
- Roasted Pork with Rhubarb Sauce: Roasted pork with rhubarb sauce is a delicious and easy dish. The sweetness of the rhubarb balances out the richness of the pork.
- Rhubarb Chutney: Rhubarb chutney is a great accompaniment to cheese, crackers, and meats. It’s tangy and sweet, with a touch of spice.
These are just a few examples of the many ways you can use rhubarb in your cooking. When it comes to experimenting with new flavors, the possibilities are endless!
What Are Some Tips for Cooking with Rhubarb?
There are many ways to cook with rhubarb, but it’s important to know some tips and tricks to ensure that your dishes turn out delicious. Here are some tips for cooking with rhubarb:
1. Pick the Right Rhubarb
When choosing rhubarb for your dishes, select stalks that are fresh and firm. Avoid stalks that are wilted, discolored, or limp, as they may be past their prime.
2. Remove the Leaves
As mentioned earlier, rhubarb leaves are toxic and should not be consumed. Ensure that you remove them before cooking or using the stalks.
3. Sweeten the Tart Flavor
Rhubarb is known for its tart flavor, so it’s important to add sugar or another sweetener to balance out the taste. Brown sugar, honey, and maple syrup are all great options to add a touch of sweetness to your dishes.
4. Cook Rhubarb Properly
Rhubarb can be cooked in many ways, including baking, stewing, and grilling. However, to avoid it becoming mushy, ensure that you don’t overcook it. A good rule of thumb is to cook rhubarb until it’s just tender but still holds its shape. One method to ensure that your rhubarb stays firm is to add it to a hot pan and cook it for just a few minutes until it’s slightly caramelized.
What Nutritional Benefits Does Rhubarb Offer?
Rhubarb is a nutritious and versatile vegetable that offers a variety of health benefits. Here are a few of the nutrients that rhubarb is rich in:
Rhubarb is an excellent source of fiber, which is important for maintaining digestive health. A single cup of chopped rhubarb contains around 2.2 grams of fiber, or about 9% of your recommended daily intake.
Rhubarb is also a good source of potassium, a mineral that plays an important role in keeping your heart healthy. One cup of rhubarb contains roughly 350 milligrams of potassium, or about 7% of your recommended daily intake.
Rhubarb is high in vitamin C, an essential nutrient that supports a healthy immune system, among other functions. A one-cup serving of rhubarb contains about 10% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin C.
Rhubarb is a surprising source of calcium, a mineral that is important for building and maintaining strong bones and teeth. One cup of cooked rhubarb contains around 100 milligrams of calcium, or about 10% of your recommended daily intake.
Finally, rhubarb is also high in vitamin K, which is important for blood clotting and maintaining healthy bones. One cup of cooked rhubarb contains about 35% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin K.
Where Can You Find Rhubarb?
If you’re interested in cooking with rhubarb, the first step is finding it! Fortunately, rhubarb can be found in several different locations, including:
During the spring and summer months, most grocery stores will carry rhubarb in their produce section. Look for bright, crisp stalks with deep red coloring – this is an indication that the rhubarb is fresh and flavorful.
If you prefer to shop locally, check out your nearest farmers market. You’ll often find fresh, locally-grown rhubarb for sale, and you’ll be supporting small-scale farmers in your area at the same time.
Your Own Garden
If you have a green thumb, you can grow your own rhubarb too! Rhubarb is a relatively easy plant to grow, as long as it’s planted in well-draining soil in a spot that receives partial shade. Once planted, it takes around two years for the plant to mature enough to start harvesting.
The Freezer Section
Finally, if you’re having trouble finding fresh rhubarb or want to enjoy it out of season, you may be able to find frozen rhubarb in your grocery store’s freezer section. Though it won’t have quite the same texture as fresh rhubarb, it can still be a great option for use in recipes like pies or crumbles.
Thanks for Reading
We hope this article has inspired you to try out some new delicious recipes with rhubarb. Whether you’re making a dessert or a savory dish, rhubarb can bring a unique and tart flavor to your cooking. Remember to always choose firm and bright stalks, and discard any leaves or damaged parts before use. Let us know your favorite rhubarb recipe in the comments section below and don’t forget to bookmark our site for more culinary inspiration.
Learn to Cook Delicious Dishes with Rhubarb
Add a unique and tart flavor to your cooking with these delicious rhubarb recipes. From classic pie to savory dishes like roasted chicken, rhubarb can enhance any recipe.
- 4 chicken breasts
- 1 lb. rhubarb
- 1 onion
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tsp. dried thyme
- 1/4 cup honey
- Preheat oven to 400Â°F. Wash rhubarb and slice into 1-inch pieces. Peel onion and chop into small pieces.
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season chicken breasts with salt, pepper, and thyme. Sear chicken breasts for 2-3 minutes per side until golden brown.
- Remove chicken from the skillet and place it in a baking dish. In the same skillet, add rhubarb, chopped onion and chicken broth. Cook for 5-7 minutes until the rhubarb is slightly softened.
- Drizzle honey over the chicken and rhubarb mixture. Bake the dish in the oven for 30-35 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the rhubarb is tender.