Cooking with Rhubarb

CHICOPEE, Mass. (Mass Appeal)   Rhubarb is one of New England’s best kept secrets. It grows pretty much everywhere, it offers a ton of vitamin C and fiber, and it responds well to just a little sugar (well, maybe more than just a little). Tinky Weisblat a writer at, her neighbor Florette gave her this old-fashioned recipe for a refreshing rhubarb drink. 

Refreshing Rhubarb Drink
Servings:  2 quarts
Preparation Time: 10 to 15 minutes
Cook Time (minutes): about 20

  • for the rhubarb juice:
  • 2 pounds rhubarb stalks chopped (about 6 cups)
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 pinch salt
  • for the sugar syrup:
  • 2 cups water
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • for assembly:
  • 1 quart strong black tea

Cooking Directions:

In a stainless steel or enamel saucepan, cook the rhubarb in water, partially covered, over moderately low heat for 10 to 12 minutes or until tender. Stir gently occasionally to keep from boiling. Cool slightly. Drain the rhubarb in a sieve placed over a bowl and discard the pulp, reserving the liquid. Add the salt.

In another saucepan, combine the ingredients for the sugar syrup. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring and brushing the sugar crystals from the sides of the pan until the sugar is dissolved. Cook the syrup for 5 minutes, undisturbed, over moderate heat and let it cool.

To make rhubarb tea, combine 2 parts black tea, 1 part rhubarb juice, and 1 part sugar syrup. (You may change these proportions slightly according to your taste.) Serve in a tall glass over ice. As indicated, 4 cups tea, 2 cups rhubarb juice, and 2 cups sugar syrup make 2 quarts of rhubarb tea. Store any leftover juice or syrup in the refrigerator. If you need a double amount of sugar syrup, make 2 separate batches.

Rhubarb Crumble
Easier than pie, lighter than crisp—and FULL of tart/sweet rhubarb.
Servings: 6 to 8
Preparation Time: 5 to 10 minutes
Cook Time (minutes): 30 minutes


  • 2 pounds rhubarb (6 cups) cut into one-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) salted butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar


Cooking Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the rhubarb in buttered Pyrex pie dish (a stainless or ceramic dish may be substituted, but don’t use aluminum as it will react with the rhubarb’s acidity).

Sprinkle on the white sugar and cinnamon. Place the flour in a bowl. Add the butter and cut it in with knives or a pastry blender (your hands will do in a pinch). Add the brown sugar and mix again until crumbly.

Sprinkle this mixture evenly over the rhubarb, pressing down lightly. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown and crisp. Serve alone or with whipped cream or frozen yogurt.

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