It’s rhubarb season in New England. This hardy perennial is such an easy plant to grow; it comes back reliably year after year, and it spreads itself so your harvest just keeps getting better. But with all that spreading it is possible (gasp) to feel like you have too much of a good thing.
Maybe, though, we just need to think beyond the pie. Sure, rhubarb pie and crisp are delicious, but there is so much more you can do with these crispy, sour stalks that goes way beyond the pie dish. From savory to sweet, the options are endless.
Here are 5 ideas for using a bumper crop of rhubarb:
Spice up your Main Dish with Rhubarbecue: Rhubarbecue = Rhubarb BBQ Sauce slowly simmered with delicious cuts of your favorite protein. Seriously people – it’s delicious. The rhubarb is balanced out by the richness of the sauce and a little bit of sweetness from honey and/or brown sugar. This rhubarbecue recipe from the Splendid Table is, well, splendid.
Toast to your garden with Rhubarb Cocktails: As summer comes close the need for cool refreshing drinks coincides with the arrival of the rhubarb. You can make rhubarb lemonade, or you can mix is up with some of the fun combinations and cocktails that use our rhubarb concentrate – shared in this article on Mother Earth News (think rhubarb lemonade to rhubarbarita).
Go healthy with Rhubarb Salad: So many rhubarb recipes call for a load of sugar to make up for the sour nature of the rhubarb, but you can also balance rhubarb with fruit like strawberries without adding a ton of added sugar. Put them together on top of a delicious salad and you’ve got a winning combination that’s also good for you! This rhubarb and strawberry salad recipe from Epicurious also makes use of mint, which should be showing up right around the same time as your rhubarb.
Spread the Love with Rhubarb Butter: Similar to apple butter, rhubarb butter is a creamy spread for your muffins and toast. I like recipes that use honey or maple syrup instead of sugar so I was excited to see this recipe from Meghan Telpner. Full disclosure – this is one recipe we haven’t tried yet, but fully intend to add to our list this year!
Start the Summer early with Rhubarb Ice Cream: One thing we love about fruity ice cream recipes is that they can be really easy to make and often call for just fruit, sugar, and whipping cream. We have a favorite strawberry ice cream recipe that follows this formula. Why not start the summer off right with your first batch of ice cream out of rhubarb – technically before summer even arrives! This recipe from Taste of Home follows the same simple formula we use for strawberry ice cream but substitutes rhubarb as the main fruit.
We'd love to hear from you if you try some of these recipes! What’s your favorite way to use rhubarb??