Tart and tangy, rhubarb is incredibly versatile — whether it’s baked into a tart or crumble, stewed to enjoy with meat, or made into a cordial for cocktails, it’s simply delicious.
Rhubarb is technically classed as a vegetable, but is commonly treated like a fruit, cooked in sugar to balance out its acidity and used in desserts. Having said that, it can be a game-changer in savoury dishes and goes beautifully with roast pork, lamb and duck, as well as oily fish such as salmon.
There are two types of rhubarb grown in the UK. Forced rhubarb comes into season in January to early February, and the stems grown in Yorkshire’s Rhubarb Triangle (around Leeds, Bradford and Wakefield) are known to be the best. Forcing it out of hibernation with warmth and dark conditions – it’s even picked by candlelight – gives it a sweeter and more delicate flavour. Summer or maincrop rhubarb tends to have a more intense flavour, although both varieties are tart.
When it comes to perfect pairings, it doesn’t get much better than with sweet strawberries, which balance out the rhubarb’s tangy flavour. It’s also brilliant with orange, coconut, vanilla, ginger – and of course custard!
When buying rhubarb, forced rhubarb is usually pink in colour, while later varieties are more red. Go for firm stalks and store in the fridge for best results. The stalks will quickly go limp after cutting off the leaves – discard these, as they are poisonous.
So what are you waiting for? Try these delicious rhubarb recipes now…
Our simple method of poaching rhubarb is really reliable. It’s great for feeding a crowd and is ready in just 15 minutes. Serve with overnight oats for a dreamy breakfast, over bresaola for an elegant starter or lunch, or strain and bottle to make a cordial — there are so many possibilities!
The quintessential combo! Buttery pastry hugs layers of creamy custard and tart rhubarb in this winning dessert. Divine with the syrup from the fruit drizzled over and served with extra custard. If you’re short on time, using shop-bought pastry is a handy hack, then freeze any leftover pastry to make jam tarts with the kids another day.
Sweet rhubarb sorbet and salty, crunchy brittle make an irresistible combo. A riot of flavours and textures using only six ingredients, this frozen summer treat is a refreshing way to end a meal and looks gorgeous when served in bowls and scattered with pieces of brittle. What’s not to love?
Crisp, chewy meringue topped with soft vanilla cream and tart strawberry & rhubarb compote come together to make this dreamy dessert — a true taste of summer! This crowd-pleaser is so easy to pull together and one you can make ahead, so it will undoubtedly become a family weekend favourite.
The rich chocolate of this indulgent tart is offset beautifully by tart rhubarb spiked with ginger and orange. The pastry is also flavoured with ginger, making it extra special. This is the perfect vegan dessert option for dinner parties — you won’t even miss the dairy.
Delicate poached salmon is taken to the next level when served with a bold rhubarb sauce, zingy tarragon mayo and quick pickled onions. Delicious served with boiled potatoes on the side. This recipe uses a whole salmon, but we have so many delicious ideas for leftovers – from fishcakes to risotto – that it won’t be around for long!
When simplicity hits the spot! The beauty of this stewed veg with natural yoghurt lies in its versatility. Ginger and orange bring out the flavours of the rhubarb, while the creamy vanilla yoghurt balances out the tart flavour. There are so many ways you can enjoy the stewed rhubarb, but we love it with ice cream or dolloped onto porridge.
Succulent lamb is coated with an almond and herb crumb then roasted on top of rhubarb to make a super-special dinner centrepiece. Cooked in one pan, there’s minimal washing up and it’s so easy to make. Pairing the rich meat with honey-sweetened rhubarb brings out the flavours of the dish beautifully and adds colour and texture to the plate.
You can’t go wrong with our simple rhubarb-flavoured gin if you’re after a refreshing drink on a warm day. Keep it classic and serve it over ice with tonic water and a slice of citrus, or enjoy it shaken into one of your favourite cocktails. Keep in a cool, dark place for up to a month – but it won’t be around for long!
This is Jamie’s British twist on a bellini – slightly tart, but oh-so refreshing. Pop your bubbly in the freezer about 40 minutes before serving for maximum enjoyment on a hot day. It’s the perfect cocktail to serve to guests as they arrive at your summer party – or just a Saturday-night get-together. Cheers!
After more seasonal inspo? Check out our favourite courgette recipes.