Rhubarb (Rhubarbe)

How to choose and prepare rhubarb from the market with links to easy rhubarb recipes, including dehydrated rhubarb as garnish for both desserts and savoury dishes.

French market rhubarb

Rhubarb Seasons:

Spring; Summer; April-September in France.

What is Rhubarb?

  • It’s a plant that grows mainly in northern France and is easily homegrown, as it doesn’t need much care and needs not too much heat and plenty of water. While the leaves are inedible, the stalks are delicious and can grow up to a meter, growing quickly as of April;
  • According to Larousse Gastronomique, rhubarb originated in Asia and was brought to Europe by Marco Polo in the 16th century. However, it was only made popular in cooking by the British (hence pies and crumbles) and came to France in the 19th century;
  • Today rhubarb is one of the prides of the Potager du Roi in Versailles – if you visit, be sure to try their rhubarb nectar from the farmer’s shop. It’s the most wonderful juice with just the right acidity which gives rhubarb its delicious appeal; 
  • Low in calories but always needs sugar added, as extremely acidic. Due to its acidity, rhubarb contains potassium, magnesium, iron and vitamins – and is particularly high in calcium;
  • Always discard the rhubarb leaves as they are toxic;
  • Choose firm stalks and store in the fridge as little as possible before they wilt. Freezes well;
  • What does Rhubarb Go Well With? Pairs well with strawberries, rose, hibiscus, ginger and orange;
  • In French home cooking, used mainly in healthy compotes as toppings and in pâtisserie – although its acidity makes a good accompaniment to fish and roast chicken too.
    See my video: how to make rhubarb compote – how to prepare rhubarb, including a tip to make green rhubarb red;
  • Its delicious acidity lends well to cakes (see this gluten free rhubarb & orange cake) and tarts. Also jam – try this rhubarb, rose & hibiscus jam recipe;
  • Looking for dehydrated rhubarb? Then follow this recipe to make rhubarb chips as a garnish for desserts.

Rhubarb chips recipe

Rhubarb Recipes

Dessert recipes

From the kitchen