I love rhubarb! But not everyone knows what to do with it. Every spring people start to see it in farmers markets and grocery stores. I have been getting a small bunch every week in my CSA. I grew up with my grandfather having a large patch of rhubarb in his back yard and I always enjoyed seeing the large leaves and the smell of the first cuttings of the stems.
Rhubarb is a great plant to include in your food. In Ayurveda, it is important to balance all of the flavors: sweet, sour, astringent, pungent, salty, and bitter. Rhubarb hits the sour flavor, one of the few natural plants that are sour. A lot of kids now like sweet/sour candies and rhubarb is a great flavor to introduce kids to, to move them towards healthier eating.
Leaves of rhubarb should not be eaten, some say they are poisonous, and neither should the roots. Roots of rhubarb have been used for medicine for a long time, mostly for constipation. In cooking we use the stems of the leaves and these can also be helpful for constipation as well.
Here are a few recipes using rhubarb for you to enjoy:
Cut your rhubarb into 1/3in pieces
put a shallow layer of water into a sauce pan
add your rhubarb and simmer on low until your rhubarb breaks down to a stringy consistency
remove from heat and add sugar or honey to taste
this can be frozen into ice cubes to store for some of the following uses later
Strawberry Rhubarb Sauce
add 1-1.5 parts rhubarb sauce to 3 parts crushed strawberries
Strawberry Rhubarb Yogurt Popsicle
Take 1 part strawberry rhubarb sauce to 4 parts yogurt, mix and freeze in Popsicle holder
*Can also just be eaten with our freezing as flavored yogurt
If you have sweetened your rhubarb sauce you do not need to add sweetener*
Using your favorite plain muffin recipe, add in 1 cup diced rhubarb and 1/2 tsp cinnamon
You can make a melted butter and sugar glaze to put on top
*This same recipe can be used to make a bread
Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
Make a two crust pie crust and line a pie plate with crust 1
Sprinkle the bottom of the pie crust with 2tbsp flour and 2tbsp sugar
Fill pie crust with sliced strawberries and rhubarb chunks (1/3in).
Sprinkle on 6tbsp flour and 1/2 sugar, dot with butter and cover with top crust, cutting vents
Bake as your normal 2 crust pie
*Usually served cold with ice cream
Strawberry Rhubarb Jam
Substitute 1-2 cups of Strawberries for Rhubarb sauce in a 4 cup strawberry jam recipe of your choice.
Rhubarb can also be frozen in 1/3 pieces for use later. Rhubarb should always be cooked before eating so no quality is lost with freezing it.
Rhubarb or Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp is also another good recipe to make with rhubarb. Just use your favorite fruit crisp recipe and substitute it with rhubarb and strawberries as you desire.
All of the strawberry rhubarb recipes can be done with just rhubarb if you like it more sour. I stay away from the just rhubarb recipes unless I need the relief from constipation that you get when you have larger amounts of rhubarb. If you want to learn more about how you can use herbs and foods in your kitchen for medicine I suggest you check out our new FREE Online Herbal Classes.