Fresh Rhubarb Roundup

Fresh Rhubarb Roundup

Hallelujah! It’s May and Northwest Farmers Markets are overflowing with heavenly field-grown rhubarb. And unlike in the bad-old-days, the bounty will extend well beyond the time the large commercial growers call it quits for the season. Small local growers have taken up the cause and in the process have discovered that they can keep rhubarb growing about as long as customers show enthusiasm for buying it. My own enthusiasm never seems to wane. The absence of fresh rhubarb between October and February just makes the heart grow fonder.

Every spring, I work up a few new rhubarb dishes. And share the best of them with you. In case you missed one or two, I’ve collected them all in this Fresh Rhubarb Roundup. Check out my Fresh Rhubarb Primer, plus  several ways to eat this most distinctive and evocative fruit cum vegetable.

Fresh Rhubarb Roundup

Fresh Rhubarb Primer

Everything you need to know, including season, selection, storage, preparation, cooking, and great partners.

Fresh Rhubarb Roundup: Rhubarb Rose Petal Caramel Syrup

Rhubarb Rose Petal Carmel Sauce + 4 Variations

There’s something magical about the addition of a surprising and complimentary flavor element to an otherwise standard dessert. Fresh fruit syrups elevate nearly any dessert to elegant heights. Add caramel and the effect is out of this world. Plus, I love the subtle dimension that rose petal lends to rhubarb.

Fresh Rhubarb Roundup: Bread Crisps with Wheel of Chevre Brie & Spiced Rhubarb Chutney

Spiced Rhubarb Chutney

This russet-red chutney is sweet, tart, spicy, and addictively delicious. I especially love it with Seeded Bread Crisps topped with a creamy brie or fresh chèvre, or as an accompaniment to a savory cheesecake.

Fresh Rhubarb Roundup: Apple Cider-Brined Pork Tenderloin with Rhubarb Deglazing Sauce

Apple Cider-Brined Tenderloin of Pork with Rhubarb Deglazing Sauce

The sweet flavor of pork has a natural affinity with acidic fruit flavors, as in this rhubarb-cider sauce, and with spices, such as allspice and cloves, which are used here in an apple cider brine. The key to this dish is in not overcooking the pork; it should be nicely rosy in the center, very juicy and tender.

Fresh Rhubarb Roundup: Rhubarb Cardomom Lime Muffins

Rhubarb Cardamom Lime Muffins

Muffins don’t get any better than this. The texture is tender and open, with sweet/tart rhubarb goodness throughout. Plus, there is just something magical about the combination of cardamom, lime, and rhubarb. To balance the tart bursts of rhubarb on the palate, the caramelized streusel topping is a must. Don’t even think about leaving it out.

Fresh Rhubarb Roundup: Spring Rhubarb and Apple Crisp with Toasted Hazelnut Streusel

Spring Rhubarb & Apple Crisp with Toasted Hazelnut Streusel

This crisp combines the last of the Northwest apples (from winter cold storage) and the first of the spring field-rhubarb crop. It’s a perfect marriage, because the apples lend body to the crisp (rhubarb disintegrates when cooked) and the rhubarb boosts the flavor of the apples by several notches. Rhubarb has a natural affinity for caramel, thus I use all brown sugar for the sweetener here. Lime, cardamom, cloves, hazelnuts, and vanilla ice cream are additional flavors that work magic with rhubarb, and they are all here in this wonderful dessert.

Fresh Rhubarb Roundup: Rhubarb Cornmeal Upside-Down Cake

Rhubarb Cornmeal Upside-Down Cake

I can’t decide if I prefer this cake upside-down with the pale pink, glistening rhubarb on top or upside-up with the lovely browned cake on top. I leave it to your discretion. Whatever you decide, upon your first bite of this anise-scented, tender cake, you won’t care how it looks on the plate. The ethereally light texture of this cake is the result of the proportions of the ingredients but also, I believe, of the steam that is created from the sauce at the bottom of each ramekin.

Fresh Rhubarb Roundup: Rhubarb, Tangelo & Cardamom Marmellata

Rhubarb, Tangelo & Cardamom Marmellata

This flavor combination is made in heaven. The Marmellata is intentionally on the softly set side, so that it can be used as a sauce, as well as a jam. It’s so delicious that you will be tempted to slather it on everything.

Fresh Rhubarb Roundup: Fresh Rhubarb at Portland Farmers MarketThere’s more on my Rhubarb Roundup Pinterest Board.

Cookin’ with Gas (rhubarb inspiration from around the web)


Copyright 2014 Susan S. Bradley. All rights reserved.

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  1. says

    Mmm, I love rhubarb. It always reminds me of summer at grandma’s house. That Rhubarb Cornmeal Upside-Down Cake looks divine.

  2. says

    You are so right. I just spent the weekend in Seattle, and it was being taken over by rhubarb! I was also surprised at how inexpensive it was. $1.99 a pound? In San Diego, it’s usually $5 a pound. But it’s worth it. Like you say, it’s a seasonal treasure. And thanks for including a link to my rhubarb sponge pudding!

    • Susan S. Bradley says

      Oh yes, that photo is not from this season. I paid $3.99 a pound recently. Imagaine that! Rhubarb is now a LUXURY food.

    • Susan S. Bradley says

      A pleasure, Sarah! Can’t wait to try your Rhubarb Turkish Delight. I’ve never made that type of candy, and I love it in all its permutations.

    • Susan S. Bradley says

      Hi Mary-beth! Let me know how they turn out for you. Working on some new concepts too that I will share in the weeks ahead. One I think you will like is Lavender Chevre Panna Cotta with a Rhubarb Sauce and Basil Sauce. I created it last spring, but the photos were washed out, so need to retest and reshoot. And then eat it of course. heh heh…

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