Rhubarb is one tricky ingredient. It’s ripe for pickin’ in early summer, grows in long, tie-dyed stalks vaguely reminiscent of celery, and has leafy tops (which are poisonous and not used in cooking) that resemble Swiss chard. Raw rhubarb is extremely sour, which is why it’s usually a) cooked and b) prepared with sweet ingredients. On top of everything, it’s still up for debate whether this colorful early-summer plant is a fruit or a vegetable. But there’s hope at the end of the tunnel. Rhubarb is actually pretty easy to cook with, and adds tons of flavor and pep to all kinds of summery dishes. So next time you see those confusing stalks at the market, grab a few stalks and dive in with these five tasty recipes.
Rhubarb Strawberry Crumble via Local Kitchen
Before getting too crazy, let’s revisit the classic. Sweet, in-season strawberries (seriously, grab as many as you can before June’s over!) pairs perfectly with sour rhubarb. This crumble, made with whole-wheat flour and not too mch sugar, gets our vote.
Photo: Kaela / Local Kitchen
Grilled Rum-Glazed Pork with Rhubarb Chutney via The Seasonalist
Rhubarb is usually paired with sweet stuff, but why restrict it to the dessert table? Smoky, spicy grilled pork gets a savory, tart boost when it’s topped with a sauce made from rhubarb, vinegar, onion, and lime zest.
Photo: Christopher and Victoria / The Seasonalist
Rhubarb and Ginger Mojito via Girl Cooks World
If you’re sick of the whole rhubarb-strawberry combo, this is your drink. Mix up a batch of simple syrup flavored with rhubarb and ginger, and then add white rum, seltzer, lime, and plenty of fresh mint. Ahhh.
Photo: Cate / Girl Cooks World
Rhubarb and Gin Sorbet with Rose Cream via Apt. 2B Baking Co.
There’s something pretty mind-blowing about a sorbet recipe that uses gin as one of the main ingredients. This fragrant, totally grown-up dessert would be a perfect finish for a classy summer dinner party.
Photo: Yossy Arefi / Apt. 2B Baking Co.
Roasted Rhubarb and Strawberries via Food52
This ain’t your mama’s strawberry-rhubarb dish. The classic combination gets plenty of savory, sophisticated flavor when combined with vermouth, maple syrup, balsamic vinegar, and salt. Roast the mixture for 40 minutes, then use it to top ice cream, yogurt, or even toasted bread.
Photo: James Ransom / Food52
Did we miss any of your favorite recipes? Have a theme you’d like to see in next week’s The Greatist Table roundup? Share your thoughts in the comments below or tweet the author @SophBreene.