A vibrantly coloured, easy and versatile stewed rhubarb recipe that can be enjoyed with yogurt, custard or ice cream. Or try it as a topping on porridge or muesli.
Stewed rhubarb brings back childhood memories of harvesting produce from our veggie garden and orchard—to then prepare stewed, bottled and baked fruits.
I remember coming home from school to a dining table piled high with apples for coring and then enjoying the resultant crumbles for afternoon tea.
Rhubarb was a way to zest the apples and give a different flavour profile—a flavour I loved and still do!
A reacquaintance with rhubarb
Since moving to New Zealand, I’ve been reacquainted with rhubarb. I’ve seen it growing in home gardens and even available in the supermarket produce department.
I am no expert on growing rhubarb, not by a long shot. However, I recommend the informative article How To Grow Rhubarb if you’d like to grow it.
It’s not necessary to grow rhubarb yourself if you don’t have the space or inclination to get gardening. Furthermore, rhubarb requires a cold winter, which is why I’ve been reacquainted with it since moving to New Zealand. Sorry, Brisbane friends!
But no matter where you live, you are likely to find rhubarb.
You will find rhubarb in the supermarket’s produce or frozen fruit section. So, let’s get stewing.
How does rhubarb taste
Rhubarb has a lip-puckering tartness that is not to everyone’s liking, somewhat like biting into an unripe apple or plum.
Generally, when preparing rhubarb for desserts, we sweeten it with honey or sugar. It won’t lose its sour, tangy taste, but that is part of the joy of eating rhubarb!
With my renewed inspiration to cook with rhubarb, I wanted to give it a modern twist.
So, I added raspberries, which give a vibrant colour and taste.
Both rhubarb and raspberries are tart, so I wasn’t sure how the flavours would go. However, stewed raspberries are a delicious complement.
In this recipe, the rhubarb and raspberries meld together with orange juice, orange zest and sugar to create a delectable combination that is delicious on its own or superb with yogurt, custard or ice cream. And, of course, as a base for a crumble.
You could add a little additional sugar if the recipe is too tart for you. Or only include the red portions of the rhubarb stalks.
How to cook rhubarb
Cook rhubarb by stewing or roasting it with a bit of sugar.
To stew rhubarb, cut it into 2 cm lengths and place it into a saucepan. Sprinkle with sugar and water—heat, stirring occasionally for 15 minutes, until it softens.
You can roast rhubarb by cutting it and sprinkling it with sugar. Bake in an oven at 180oC for 15 minutes covered in foil. Then bake for another 5 minutes with the foil removed. The rhubarb should be tender but not mushy.
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Can you eat rhubarb raw?
Yes, you can eat rhubarb raw.
Dipping it in sugar, honey or maple syrup can mellow its tartness when eating it raw. However, it can also be used in savoury dishes, which I describe below.
Be sure to discard the rhubarb leaves before eating raw or cooking. The leaves are not edible and are toxic when ingested due to their oxalate content. However, you’d have to eat a lot of leaves for a lethal dose!
The leaves can be put into your compost bin, giving your plants a boost in nitrogen. So they won’t go to waste.
Ways to enjoy rhubarb
Stewed rhubarb pairs well with flavours such as ginger, vanilla, cinnamon and caramel or with fruits such as apples, oranges, lemons, plums, raspberries, strawberries and blackberries.
Mellow flavours such as vanilla ice cream or custard complement the tartness exceptionally well. Rhubarb and mascarpone, anyone?
Try stewed rhubarb:
- on porridge, muesli or chia seed pudding for breakfast
- in a crumble or pie for dessert
- combined into ice cream or rhubarb sorbet
You can also enjoy rhubarb raw, adding thin slices to salads or a slaw.
Have you tried this recipe for stewed rhubarb?
I’d love to hear whether you’ve tried this recipe or what other ways you enjoy preparing or serving rhubarb.
Share in the comments below.
Stewed Rhubarb and Raspberries
- 4 cups (500 g) rhubarb, cut into 2cm long pieces
- 2 cups (280 g) raspberries, frozen or fresh
- 1 orange, juiced
- ½ orange, zest
- 4 tablespoons (80 g) raw sugar
- Place all ingredients into a saucepan.
- Bring to a simmer.
- Cook for 10-15 minutes until the rhubarb is soft but still holds its shape.
- Taste test and adjust sugar if necessary.
- Enjoy alongside your favourite accompaniments.