Recipe: Rhubarb

There are many different ways of eating rhubarb. A strange vegetable really: its stems are edible, but its leaves are poisonous and it is part of the nightshade family of vegetables. I personally love rhubarb the way my mom always made if for me when I was little. It is the easiest recipe ever. All it requires is some cutting, some boiling and a few added flavors and you’re done.

I only make this one or twice a year as rhubarb isn’t available year round. But the minute it hits stores, I set out to make some. It contains lots of fibre (see all those little threads?) and has a slight sweet taste to it, which in this recipe we will be enhancing with some sugar and cinnamon. So this isn’t the best recipe to make in bulk per se as it isn’t the healthiest, but I use this as an occasional treat only. You can’t eat too much of this in any case as it is quite filling. I use it as a side dish mostly, but also have it as a snack and take it to work.

Prep time: 10 mins. Cooking time: 30 mins. Total time: 40 mins. Makes 5 – 6 small portions.


  • 750 grams of rhubarb
  • 4 – 5 table spoons of sugar (or to taste)
  • cinnamon

A large pan, preferably with a thick bottom, is best for making this, but I just use a bog standard pan and have used it for years without any problems. Just make sure it’s clean to start with and keep an eye on the dish while you are making it. As long as you keep stirring, nothing can get stuck.

Step 1: You start by cleaning and cutting the rhubarb. You cut off the ends and remove all the strings that are produced in the process.

Step 2: Cut your rhubarb into equal sized pieces.

Step 3: Wash under the sink and drain all the water.

Step 4: Boil the rhubarb in the water that is left in the pan after draining.

Step 5: Let it boil for about 20 – 25 minutes or until the rhubarb dissolves into goo. It will automatically turn a little bit more pink towards the end as well.

Step 6: If the texture is too thick, add a teeny tiny amount of water.

Step 7: Near the end of the cooking process you add your sugar. I usually do this once the rhubarb has the right texture and has finished boiling. The rhubarb will be hot enough to dissolve the sugar. Just make sure you give it a good stir.

Step 8: Add cinnamon to taste. This will give your rhubarb a slightly darker color too. Now just let it cool to room temperature and then transfer to a container and stick in the fridge for a few hours or overnight.

And that’s it! That is my super simple, easy to do rhubarb recipe. It’s a very traditional recipe. To be honest I have never tried incorporating rhubarb into pies or anything like that, but I think that may also be delicious.

How do you like your rhubarb?

5 responses to “Recipe: Rhubarb”

  1. Rhubarb = life! Now that I have a garden I started growing some. Not the orettiest plants, but RHUBARB!!!

    If you want to make a pie, may I suggest the following recipe?

    – make a crust like you would for apple pie (so a short crust, basically. I guess you’d opt for a wheat-free version)
    – instead of apples, use two parts halved strawberries, one part chopped rhubarb, a few TBS of sugar, one or two packets of vanilla sugar, and two tsp of corn starch (or potato starch). Just toss it all together in a bowl. You can totally add chopped gresh basil too. My girlfriend thinks it “tastes funny”, but I think it’s AWESOME and SHE’s “funny”!)
    – line a well-oil pie dish (ideally NOT a springform, if you do line it WELL with a double layer of tin foil) with 2/3 of your rolled out crust pastry, poke a bunch of holes in the bottom, fill with foil and pie weights (I use marbles) and parbake for about 12 minutes at 200 degC. Take out the pie weights and foil and let cool
    – put a thin (THIN!!!!!) layer of uncooked cornmeal (so polenta, basically) in the bottom of your pie crust and put the strawberry-rhubarb mix on top
    – roll out the rest of the crust pastry and cut out some decorative holes from the top (or just poke some big holes, yo!). Place that on top of the pie and seal the edges well. Brush top with egg. Bake at…uh…something like 210 degC for the first ten minutes, then lower oven temp to…uh…lower? Probably 180degC or something and bake until you can see through the holes that the rhubarb filling is squishy and bubbly and the juices have thickened. About 40 minutes minimum I’d say.

    It’s good stuff! Totally delicious with an unsweetened crust as well! Check out recipes for wheat-free pâté brisé. The HUGE advantage of non-wheat crusts is that they tend to stay “short” (flaky rather than doughy) more easily.

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