Season’s Eatings: 10 Tasty Treats to Cook with Rhubarb

raw rhubarb

Rhubarb—there’s a whole lot more you can do with this tart spring sweetheart than make a pie! But first, what the heck is rhubarb?

Despite its frequent starring role in desserts, rhubarb is botanically a vegetable—although, in a kooky twist, the U.S. Customs Court in Buffalo, New York ruled it legally a fruit in 1947 to lower the tax on imported rhubarb. No matter what you call it, take note that the edible portion of the plant is the tall, celery-like stalk, which comes in lovely shades of ruby red, spotted pink, and light green. The large green leaves are poisonous, so discard them if you’re harvesting rhubarb from your yard; stores will only sell the stalks. While rhubarb can be eaten raw, it has a tart, sour taste and fibrous texture—so it’s more often cooked, mixed into things, and paired with sweeteners for balance.   

Super low in calories (only 26!), one cup of raw, diced rhubarb is a great source of vitamin K (which supports healthy bone growth), the infection-fighter vitamin C, calcium, vitamin A, fiber, and much, much more. It is known for aiding digestion, making it a good addition to your meal plan if your kiddo is prone to constipation.

So, now that you know what rhubarb is, what do you do with it besides make pie?

Here are 10 tasty leads to get you started:

rhubarb crumble

1. We love that the only fruit in Food Network's easy-peasy crumble recipe is rhubarb—no strawberries, peaches, etc. to dominate the flavor. Serve with a dollop of ice cream, whipped cream, or vanilla Greek yogurt.  

2. Aimée Wimbush-Bourque, the creator of the Simple Bites blog, offers two recipes for rhubarb compote and 10 suggestions for how to use it. We also think it would be great on pancakes!

3. You can make blogger/recipe developer Getty Stewart’s snacktastic rhubarb fruit leather with a food dehydrator or in the oven.

4. The Kitchn’s roasted rhubarb take on a classic French clafouti (creamy baked custard) makes a splendid light dessert or even breakfast.

rhubarb salsa

5. No cooking and very little sugar required for this pico-de-gallo-style tangy rhubarb salsa from AllRecipes. The spicy heat is mild, but you can always nix the jalapeño if kids will be digging in. Serve in tacos or burritos, or with scrambled eggs.

6. This rhubarb chutney from Martha Stewart goes great with chicken, turkey, pork, and salmon. The chutney’s fruity, sweet-and-spice flavors may even make these meats and fish more appealing to your child if he has been picky about them in the past.

7. Make Sunday brunch extra special with the Food Network’s strawberry-rhubarb stuffed French toast.

8. For a surprisingly easy treat with lots of visual impact, try Martha Stewart’s rhubarb-raspberry cheesecake squares.

9. Taste of Home’s rhubarb streusel muffins are the food equivalent of a cozy hug.

rhubarb popsicles

10. Salute the sun with Saveur’s refreshing strawberry rhubarb yogurt pops

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