Temper the Tartness
Often too tart on its own, rhubarb pairs wonderfully with other fruits to create a complex sweet-tart flavor. Berries, apples, oranges, and peaches are all good choices.
The Pie Plant
Try substituting up to half of the fruit in your favorite dessert recipe with chopped rhubarb (you may need to add extra sugar). Looking for more flavorful ideas? Rhubarb is also complemented by ginger, vanilla, cinnamon, orange, lime and mint.
Other Rhubarb Treats
Apart from pies, tarts, crisps and cobblers, rhubarb is wonderful in quick breads, cakes, ice cream or sorbet. Rhubarb sauces or chutneys can be matched with both sweet and savory dishes.
Picking and Preparing Your Rhubarb
Different varieties of rhubarb will be deep crimson, rosy pink, or even pink-streaked green when fully ripe. If you're selecting rhubarb in the grocery store, choose medium-sized stalks that are firm and blemish-free. Avoid anything that's limp, shriveled or spotted brown. Rhubarb stalks are stringy like celery; the texture will break down during cooking, so de-stringing is not necessary.
Storing Tips: Save It for Later
Fresh rhubarb will keep for up to a week if you store it carefully. Wrap it tightly in plastic, put it in the refrigerator, and don't wash it until you're ready to use it.
If you've got a bumper crop of rhubarb and want to freeze it to use year-round, prepare it by washing and cutting it into 1-inch pieces. Drop the pieces into boiling water for one minute, and then stop the cooking by "shocking" it: scoop rhubarb out with a slotted spoon or sieve and plunge it immediately into ice water. Drain the cooled rhubarb pieces, spread them out on baking sheets and transfer them to the freezer. Once the rhubarb is frozen solid, you can store it in heavy-duty plastic bags for up to a year.
Or bake fresh rhubarb into coffee cakes, muffins, sauces and the like, and freeze it in ready-to-eat forms instead.