Fresh Rhubarb Roundup

All my favorite rhubarb recipes, plus Fresh Rhubarb Primer.

Fresh Rhubarb Roundup | LunaCafeHallelujah! It’s April 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. But  first check out my Fresh Rhubarb Primer, plus several ways to eat this most distinctive and evocative fruit cum vegetable.

Fresh Rhubarb RoundupFresh Rhubarb Primer

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

Fresh Rhubarb Roundup: Rhubarb Rose Petal Caramel SyrupRhubarb 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 ChutneySpiced 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 SauceApple 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.

LunaCafe Rhubarb Recipes

Cookin’ with Gas (inspiration from around the web)


Copyright 2014 Susan S. Bradley. All rights reserved.

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  1. says

    LOVE. I had a revelation several years back that rhubarb was the perfect American locavore’s substitute for tamarind, so that is one of my current favorite uses for it. I just wish my local rhubarb was red lol!
    Laura recently posted…Thai Curried Ramen BowlMy Profile

    • says

      Laura, what a great idea: rhubarb as a substitute for tamarind. The season used to be so short that we cooks had too little time to work with rhubarb. But now it’s available for 6 MONTHS. So no excuses not to develop a large repertoire of interesting dishes utilizing it. :-)

  2. says

    So many fascinating recipes and ideas here, Susan! You obviously love rhubarb! Did you know that it was first grown in the US in Maine and as it is so easy to grow, it was a part of every colonial garden and known as pie plant? Rhubarb is not yet out here locally, but I look forward to it with all these recipes–thanks for the inspiration! Cheers!
    Barbara recently posted…TabboulehMy Profile

    • says

      Barbara, no I didn’t know that, thanks for sharing. Our neighbors and my grandmother both grew rhubarb (a lot of folks did in those days), so it was a part of my childhood. Grandma produced dozens of rhubarb pies and froze them so that we could enjoy them all winter long. I always loved it and even ate it raw.

  3. says

    Susan, From my comment on your cornmeal upside-down cake with rhubarb, you already know that I don’t know much about this fascinating fruit. And now you’re given me at least 20 more reasons to find out more. I’ve made apple rhubarb pie a long time ago and I think maybe I used it one other time, but now I’m hankering to find out how it tastes on its own – as the shining star in a dish.
    Laura recently posted…Crispy Baked Vegetable ChipsMy Profile

  4. says

    I love, love, LOVE anything with rhurbarb! Gotta have it this time of year. I particularly love including it in recipes and then have people say “I love this!” and “I hate rhubarb” in the same breath. Ha! Joke’s on them! Thanks for some additional ideas on how to get my fix while it’s in season!
    Dee Dee recently posted…Pork & Ricotta Meatballs in Parmesan BrothMy Profile

  5. says

    My husband loves rhubarb, I think partially because he has fond memories of the rhubarb pie his grandmother used to make. So we make a lot of rhubarb dishes when it’s in season, can’t wait to try some of these!
    Sara recently posted…Pear CustardMy Profile

  6. says

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

  7. 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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