What is rhubarb and how is it cooked?

Of Asian origin, Rhubarb is very popular in Anglo countries. This sweet-tasting stem is used above all for desserts, although it is also used in some savory preparations.

In Central European and Anglo-Saxon confectionery, rhubarb is very present. It is a vegetable of Asian origin – where it has been traditionally used for medicinal purposes – which in the United States is considered a fruit. IIf you have not already done so, you should know that it is very similar to a red chard and that the stem resembles that of celery but is between reddish and green in color.

The roots and leaves of this plant contain a chemical compound called oxalic acid, which in large quantities can be toxic to health, so only the stem is consumed. With an acidic and slightly sweet flavor, it is used above all in confectionery cooked with sugar and is a vegetable with notable healthy properties. Rhubarb infusions are very popular, especially those that are combined with ginger.


Rhubarb has digestive properties -improves constipation and digestion- but also anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that help lower cholesterol and blood pressure, as well as improve memory and prevent diseases such as dementia or Alzheimer’s. It is very low in calories and rich in vitamin C and K, the latter helps fix calcium in the bones and prevent osteroporosis.


We can find it fresh, frozen or in syrup. It is recommended to wash it well before using it, whatever the preparation. In the United States, it is the star of its rhubarb pie -a dough filled with rhubarb bean- and in Germany of another very famous cake -rhababerkuchen-. The way rhubarb is cooked most is in jams, preserves, compotes… that are added to cakes, pies, fritters, muffins, etc.


Our French neighbors add it to sauces that accompany fish, pork and duck, and the Italians make an alcoholic drink with it for an aperitif, the rabarbaro. In Norway it is typical to prepare rhubarb soup and in Poland they eat it with potatoes cooked with different herbs. In Iran they use it to make a meat stew known as khorest and in Afghanistan it is eaten with cooked spinach.


It is more common to use rhubarb in desserts, but it also gives a very special touch to savory dishes like this pizza, which has the particularity of having a homemade dough that does not need to rest.

In salads and meals

The acid touch of rhubarb is perfect for incorporating it into salads and other savory dishes. Provides color, flavor and texture. Here we combine it with other vegetables, pine nuts and mozzarella.


In the form of jam, jam, jelly or coulis, rhubarb is the most common way to cook. We mix it with strawberries and orange and you will have a perfect accompaniment for toast, take with foie or cheese or as a cheesecake topping.


This cake, with a biscuit texture, is widely made in the United States -rhuharb pie- and in Germany -there it is known as Rhabarberkuchen-. There are different recipes and this is one of them.


We suggest you discover this ingredient through this recipe in which we turn it into a puree. We accompany it with some custard and a ‘crumble’.

Ginger ice cream

Ice cream is becoming more seasonal and we eat it at different times of the year. We make one with rhubarb and ginger. It is very refreshing and ideal to put a finishing touch to a meal.