Farmer's market haul leave you with more than you can handle? We can help.

By Margaret Eby
May 28, 2019
Ali Salehi Yavani/Picture Press/Getty Images, Johner Images/Getty Images

If you've never encountered rhubarb before, it can be a perplexing plant. It crops up at the farmer's market this time of year, and looks a whole lot like pink celery. Except rather than being used primarily for savory applications, like celery, rhubarb is usually used more like a fruit. It's also used often in desserts in combination with other fruits, because its naturally tart flavor pairs really well with sweeter berries that are in season around the same time. Strawberry and rhubarb is a classic combination for exactly that reason. Rhubarb is mildly toxic when raw, and its leaves are poisonous enough that you don't even want to compost them, since they may have ill effects for your lawn. 

But maybe you know all that, because you've just been to the farmer's market, or to pick up your CSA share, and you've found yourself with a whole heck of a lot of rhubarb. What should you do with it? Beyond the usual rhubarb tart and maybe a raspberry-rhubarb crisp, you still have a lot of it left. Here are some idea oof how to bust your rhubarb stash. 

Make Jam

The classic move of using up an abundance of summer fruit is through making up a jam, and that works really well with rhubarb too. Rhubarb preserves are tart on their own, so if you'd rather balance that out, you can make something like this Strawberry Rhubarb Freezer Jam.  Once you have jam, the timeline on your rhubarb stock gets elongated by a lot. You can put it on toast, throw it in a dessert or put it into a blender with banana and yogurt for a smoothie

Make a Compote

If you want to take things in a more savory direction, a rhubarb compote might be a good bet. A compote is a simple sauce made by simmering or sweating vegetables and then pureeing them. Rhubarb pairs really well with garlic and ginger for a sauce that goes well with lamb or chicken, or even with a mild-flavored fish. 

Make a Liqueur

The bright tart notes in rhubarb are great in cocktails, and you can make your own without much fuss. Take about a pound and a half of chopped up rhubarb and put it in a jar with vodka, Grand Marnier, and simple syrup for your own rhubarb liqueur. It Would be great with lemonade, club soda, or combined with sparkling wine. 

Throw It In Salad

You don't have to cook rhubarb much to remove its mild toxicity. This strawberry rhubarb salad takes the flavor profile that works well in dessert and makes it into a cold salad—just cook the rhubarb in boiling water for a minute and let it cool in the pot for 15 minutes. 

Put It In BBQ Sauce

It might sound weird, but rhubarb adds a beautiful bright tangy note to traditional barbecue sauce. Most of the work you have to do for the sauce is cooking the rhubarb with vinegar, chiptole, sugar, and ketchup, and then putting the ingredients in a blender to turn it into a smooth sauce. Voila: Rhubarb-b-q sauce, a treat for adding to smokey grilled chicken.

Still having trouble? Flip through this gallery of Our Best Rhubarb Recipes and see if it strikes your fancy.

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