Making rhubarb palatable

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Rhubarb sets one's teeth on edge unless it is served in a recipe which removes the tartness. Here are some ways of serving rhubarb to make it enjoyable.

Raw rhubarb

Some people can eat (and enjoy!) raw rhubarb dipped in sugar or grated onto vanilla ice cream. Others dip it in salt!

Rhubarb crumble

Recipes for fruit crumble can be found in many cookery books. The rhubarb is stewed with plenty of sugar. One of a variety of crumble toppings can be added before baking. The pudding is served with custard, whipped evaporated milk or possibly cream.

Rhubarb jelly

This is an ideal summer pudding, which is quick and easy to make.
The rhubarb is stewed with 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, until it is soft. Then a packet of jelly is broken into the mixture and stirred until it has dissolved. The mixture is poured into a souffle dish or other suitable container, covered and left until the jelly is set. In hot weather it may need to be put in the fridge. The best flavours of jelly to use are strawberry, raspberry or orange. It can be a bit sloppy if you’re using young rhubarb, but it’s delicious.

Stewed rhubarb

Rhubarb may be stewed in lemonade with about half the usual sugar. This takes away the bitterness but the lemon cuts through the sugareyness too.

A variation. Chop a couple of freshly pulled and rinsed sticks into 1 inch pieces. Put pieces in saucepan with a spoonful of brown sugar and a little butter. (No need for extra water, just the remains of the rinsing water will be fine). Cook over a gentle heat until softened but not mushy. Take off heat and let cool. Stir into yoghurt and serve.
Vary it a bit with a little orange juice, honey or chopped preserved ginger.

Or spread on a base of digestive biscuit crumbs bound together with melted butter.

Rhubarb and custard go well together.

Ragamuffin pie

As with crumble this can be made with almost any fruit, though it works best with fruit that isn’t too juicy.

Make some short crust pastry. (half the amount of fat to the amount of flour you use). Roll this out into a large, flat roundish shape. Rub and egg yolk onto the pastry. Chop up your rhubarb and place in a pile on the centre of the pastry. Sprinkle with sugar.

Fold the edges of the pastry up over the fruit, it shouldn’t meet in the middle, but form craggy edges round the fruit.

Glaze the edges of the pastry with the remainder of the egg, and add more sugar if you wish.

Cook in the oven (around 180 C, for half an hour ish)

Rhubarb and orange meringue pie

Preheat the oven to 190 C. Make some shortcrust pastry using 6oz plain flour and line a 9 inch quiche tin, 1 1/2 inches deep, lightly greased standing on a baking sheet. Prick the base all over with a
fork and use some of the egg yolks to paint the base and the sides to provide a seal.


1 1/2 lb rhubarb, grated zest and juice of 3 oranges, 3 oz caster sugar, 3 level tablespoons cornflour and 3 egg yolks

Wash and trim the rhubarb and cut into chunks. Place in a shallow
baking-dish and sprinkle in the grated orange zest followed by the

Put the tin on a pre-heated baking sheet on a high shelf in the oven and place the rhubarb on the lowest shelf.

Cook the pastry for around 20-25 mins, and the rhubarb for 25-30mins
until soft.


3 large egg whites and 6oz caster sugar

Squeeze the orange juice into a small saucepan. Use a little of it mix
the cornflour to a smooth paste in a bowl, then bring the rest of it up
to simmering point. Pour the hot orange juice on to the cornflour
mixture then pour the whole lot back into the saucepan, whisk it over
the heat with a small balloon whisk till it becomes very thick indeed,
then remove it from the heat.

Strain the cooked rhubarb over a bowl, then add the rhubarb juices and
the egg yolks to the cornflour mixture and, still whisking, bring it up
to the boil again. Remove from the heat, tip the strained rhubarb into
the bowl and stir it into the cornflour mix.

Make the meringue by putting the egg whites into a large, room bowl, and
use an electric whisk to beat them to the stage where when you lift the
whisk little peaks stand up and just slightly turn over. Then beat the
sugar in one tablespoon at a time, whisking well after each addition.

Pour the rhubarb mixture into the pastry shell and then spoon the
meringue mixture over, making sure that it covers the edges of the
pastry with no gaps.

Place the pie on the centre shelf of the oven and bake for 25 mins, or
until the meringue is golden

Remove from the oven and leave for around 2 hours before serving.

Strawberry rhubarb pie

This recipe is typical:
strawberry rhubarb pie

Savoury recipes

Stop thinking of it as a dessert and serve stewed rhubarb as a sauce with meat.

You can cut down on a bit of the sugar, and splash in a dash of red wine if you like.

Rhubarb wine

Rhubarb is supposed to make a very good wine. There is an article about wine making

Chutney and preserves

Rhubarb and stem ginger preserve is delicious on toast.

Rhubarb and coriander sauce

Melt butter in pan, add ground coriander seed, cook for a minute. Add rhubarb and cook with a little extra water if needed, until it breaks up completely. Bash it about a bit to make it into a sauce. Serve with grilled mackerel or other oily fish.

The acidity of the rhubarb and the spicy coriander are brilliant with the oiliness of the fish. Serve with new potatoes.

Or if you can't be bothered or have far too much for your own needs...

The alternative is to give it away as a booby prize to the losers of the local tombola/quiz night/car treasure hunt, and let them decide what to do with it.

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