Let me tell you. One of my favourite things about writing these articles is doing the research. You might think that writing about fruit and vegetables can’t be that interesting, but how wrong you’d be. And writing about rhubarb has been no exception. People often wonder why I’m full of unusual and quirky facts, and when you read this post and see the types of things I discover, you’ll know exactly I know such random content.
Don’t worry, I’m going to fill you in straight away, because you’re clearly sitting on the edge of your seat waiting to hear what I have to say about rhubarb.
Rhubarb Fun Facts
If you didn’t already know, rhubarb is especially popular in Britain and has been used for hundreds of years. However, did you know that it was Queen Victoria that brought the rhubarb to fame? After her coronation in 1837, they created a new variety of rhubarb, the Victoria rhubarb, and it blew people’s minds. This new variety of rhubarb was sweeter, easier to grow and much more reliable than the other varieties that people knew. No longer would you be left with a bitter and astringent taste if you didn’t put enough sugar in your pie.
The Victorians went mad for it. They started putting rhubarb in jams, jellies and custards (not sure of the difference between the three). These days, rhubarb seems a little old fashioned, but it’s rhubarb season and so it’s time to get creative.
What does rhubarb taste like?
I’d like to say it’s an acquired taste, and unless paired with something very sweet, isn’t usually to most people’s liking. You cannot eat the leaves, so you’re left with the ruby red stalks. The best way to describe the flavour of rhubarb is tart. Imagine the tartness of a granny smith apple, minus the sweetness.
To put it plainly, people don’t tend to like the taste of raw rhubarb because it’s hardly pleasant, but there are plenty of other flavours and foods that compliment it very well.
Flavours that compliment rhubarb
Really, most sweet flavours combine well with rhubarb as they take the sharp edge away from the food. That being said, there are some specific flavours that blend very well:
Ginger: You think rhubarb has an overpowering flavour? Just wait until ginger steps in and steals the limelight. This extremely strong flavour combination works well in sweet dishes such as pies or with ice cream because the rhubarb becomes less overpowering. Likewise, this combination also works well in savoury asian dishes where a tangy flavour is required.
Berries: If you want to create a rhubarb recipe without adding too much refined sugar, then add some form of berry to the ingredients list to add sweetness without excess sugar. This can be raspberries, blueberries or strawberries.
Lavender: No, this isn’t a recipe to make soap, lavender can actually be delicious served in small doses of a dish. Although you don’t want to feel like you’re eating a plant, adding subtle amounts of lavender to rhubarb can create a delicate dish, perfect for spring.
Try this Beetroot, Rhubarb and Ginger soup recipe here!
Rhubarb recipe inspiration
Here comes the good stuff, if you’re chomping at the bit for rhubarb recipes, you can take some inspiration from these ideas:
- Rhubarb and vanilla jam
- Rhubarb gin
- Sticky ribs with rhubarb and ginger
- Pistachio and rhubarb sponge cake
- Rhubarb and coconut meringue
- Ginger and rhubarb jelly
- Strawberry and rhubarb smoothie
- Beetroot, ginger and rhubarb soup
Got your own rhubarb recipes? Comment below and let us know!