3 Ways With: Rhubarb

2013 May 11 |  Words by Samantha Jones | 


Technically a vegetable but enjoyed like a fruit, rhubarb is grown primarily for its fleshy stalk and is most commonly stewed with sugar to use in pies, crumbles, cakes and jams. Packed with health benefits, low calorie rhubarb contains plenty of calcium, lutein, vitamin K and antioxidants. The roots and stems are also rich in anthraquinones like emodin and rhein, which can have cathartic and laxative effects. To tell if rhubarb is fresh, make note of their stems. They should be bright in colour, firm and upright.

Rhubarb Relish

Delicious with soft cheeses and crackers, as well as an ideal accompaniment to a number of dessert items, Rhubarb Relish provides an alluring consistency and biting taste that is synonymous with the flavoursome vegetable. This recipe requires five minutes or prep time and 15 minutes of cooking time.

1 red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup of sultanas
1 tsp grated ginger
1 orange, rind grated
125ml white wine
60ml white wine vinegar
200g firmly packed brown sugar
1 bunch of rhubarb, washed and trimmed and cut into 2cm pieces


  1. Combine onion, sultanas, ginger, rind, wine, vinegar and sugar in a saucepan.
  2. Stir over a low heat to dissolve sugar and then add rhubarb stems and simmer for five minutes
  3. Strain rhubarb making sure to reserve the syrup. Then return syrup to pan and simmer until content is reduced by half.
  4. Pour syrup over rhubarb, allow to cool and serve.

Rhubarb and Pear Crumble

Arguably one of the most common ways to enjoy rhubarb is in a crumble. This particular recipe combines rhubarb with pear to delicious effect. It requires 20 minutes of prep time and 50 minutes of cooking time.

Melted butter (for greasing)
3 pears peeled, cored and coarsely chopped.
1 bunch of rhubarb, washed, trimmed, coarsely chopped
1 orange, juiced
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
160g butter
150g Arnott’s Granita biscuits, crushed
25g of shredded coconut


  1. Preheat oven to 180°C and grease four 250ml ovenproof ramekins with melted butter.
  2. Place rhubarb, pear, orange juice, cinnamon and half the butter in a medium sized saucepan and cook over a medium-low heat for six to eight minutes or until pear and rhubarb are just tender.
  3. Divide among the ramekins.
  4. Place the biscuit and coconut in a medium sized bowl, and using your fingertips, rub the remaining butter into the biscuit mixture until it takes on a breadcrumb-like texture.
  5. Sprinkle the biscuit mixture over the rhubarb mixture and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a lovely, golden brown colour. Serve with cream, custard or vanilla ice-cream.

Rhubarb and Rosewater Sparkling Wine

This deliciously refreshing beverage is perfect to enjoy in the spring time. It requires five minutes of prep time, 15 minutes to cook and makes enough for two glasses.

1 cup of caster sugar
5 stalks of rhubarb, trimmed, leaves removed, washed and coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon of rosewater
2 750ml bottles of chilled sparkling wine


  1. Place the sugar and water in a large saucepan over medium heat and stir until the sugar dissolves. Increase heat to high and bring to boil.
  2. Add the rhubarb and return to boil.
  3. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until the syrup is a bright pink colouring and the rhubarb is tender, then remove from heat and set aside until cooled to room temperature.
  4. Using a fine sieve, strain the syrup into a large bowl and discard the rhubarb pulp.
  5. Add the rosewater and stir to combine.
  6. Pour mixture into an airtight container and chill in the fridge for two hours.
  7. Place 1 tbs of the rhubarb syrup into each glass and top with your sparkling wine of choice.

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