Sure, you could drown rhubarb in sugar and pile it into a piecrust, but why not go beyond basic with these fresh uses of our favorite spring ingredient?

rhubarb sticks
Photo Courtesy Vincent Whiteman/Offset
| Credit: Photo Courtesy Vincent Whiteman/Offset

Pickle It

Embrace the tart! Pickled rhubarb adds zip, crunch, and a welcome pop of color to salads, cheese boards, and even spiral-cut ham. (Easter brunch, anyone?) Bring 1 cup red wine vinegar, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup water, 2 tbsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper, and a sprig of fresh thyme to a simmer and stir until the sugar dissolves. Cut 3/4 lb. rhubarb into 1/2-inch pieces. Pour the brine over the rhubarb. Let sit for 30 minutes, then drain.

Drink It

In a saucepan, combine 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar with 3 cups chopped rhubarb and bring to a boil. Cook until the rhubarb has released its color. Strain and let cool. Add a splash of the syrup to a glass of bubbly or a mojito, or drizzle over ice cream.

Serve It For Dinner

Embrace rhubarb's sourness with a savory chutney to spoon over roasted or grilled chicken and pork. Just simmer 4 stalks rhubarb, chopped; 1/3 cup brown sugar; 1 tbsp. butter; 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar; and 1/2 tsp. grated peeled fresh ginger until tender, about 5 minutes. 

3 Fun Facts About Rhubarb

1. It's technically a vegetable, not a fruit.

2. Although it looks like it's related to celery, it's not. (Rhubarb is part of the buckwheat family.)

3. The stalks are edible, but the leaves are poisonous. Don't eat them!