A few days ago I was still a rhubarb neophyte. I had never tried rhubarb before, I never ate rhubarb desserts during my childhood. Not because I didn’t want to try them but there just weren’t any occasions. Rhubarb desserts are not very popular or well-known in the region I grew up: the Rhone valley in France produces many different fruits (cherries, peaches, abricots ect.) and rhubarb there has a kind of bad reputation: something old-fashioned, sour and stringy with a rather unappetizing name.
I noticed a few rhubarb recipes in the cookbook “Dukan diet’s desserts”. Rhubarb and carrots are the only plants used for desserts in the Dukan dessert cookbook. Fruits are not allowed during the first phases of the diet. It made me realize rhubarb is actually the king of low-calorie desserts -if you don’t cook it with a ton of added sugar of course- as opposed to fruits that are healthy too but naturally high in sugar.
Although treated as a fruit, rhubarb is a vegetable and this is a big nutritional advantage: two stalks (about 100 gr) have only about 20 calories and 1 gram of sugar. The rhubarb I bought was a bit expensive here in the Netherlands (3 euro for about 6 stalks) but it was in season at this time of the year and produced locally so I decided to give it a try.
I began experimenting with rhubarb by making a “sauce”, analogous to apple sauce. I let the rhubarb simmer with water like a soup until the stalk pieces could easily be pierced with a fork. I added dried plums at the end for sweetness and blended everything together. Like apple sauce, this sauce can be stored in the refrigerator and eaten cold. I enjoyed the sweet and sour flavor. The sauce was very light and nice to eat with yogurt.
I cubed the rhubarb stalks, put them in an oven dish, put a mix of oats, coconut oil and little sugar on top and baked for about 30 minutes at 200 degrees Celsius / 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
What not to do with rhubarb
I tried to make a protein milkshake with raw rhubarb, strawberries and protein powder. The problem with uncooked rhubarb is the very fibrous texture. Despite blending everything together my milkshake was full of these “filaments”. Next time I’ll use steamed, soft rhubarb instead.
Do you have any other rhubarb ideas? According to you, what is the best way to prepare rhubarb? What are your best experiences making desserts with vegetables (rhubarb, zucchini, carrots etc.)?