Helpful Culinary-Tips For
Working With Rhubarb

Helpful and interesting culinary-tips to know when baking with rhubarb may save your pots and pans, and a few pounds as well.

As for nutritional value, rhubarb is actually low in calories. The sugar makes up for it well. Because of the extreme tartness, sugar is almost always added in large quantities. For one cup of rhubarb, there are really only about 25 calories. Rhubarb is mainly made up of water, is low in sodium and fiber,but does contain a reasonable amount of vitamin C and A. Rhubarb also contains some calcium, but the oxalic acid does not allow us to absorb it well.

There are no fats or unsaturated fats. There is no cholesterol either.

Now that should make up for the sugar in my mind.

When cooking with rhubarb, it is necessary to know that you should use cookware that does not react with acids. A teflon or stainless-steel pot is best to use.

Aluminum and copper turn rhubarb and your pots brown.

Another good thing to remember is that certain combinations of the rhubarb and other good things actually compliment each-other.

In North America it is common to combine rhubarb with strawberries and produce many great treats. A typical French dish may combine a rhubarb sauce with fish. An English dish would incorporate ginger. In Persian recipes, rhubarb is combined with onions, mint, lamb, and lemon. This is served with rice.

In Poland, potatoes are cooked frequently with rhubarb and served.

Rhubarb purees and sauces combine very well with pork and beef.

Certainly some interesting variations to try. Rhubarb really isn't just used for dessert dishes. There are chicken dishes that are wonderfully enhanced by a rhubarb sauce as well.

Culinary-tips using Nutritional Fruits

Whether you are making a compote, or a jam, or simply trying to decide on what kind of berries to garnish the ice-cream or Rhubarb Crisp or Rhubarb Fool with, remember....most berries go with rhubarb, and you really cannot go wrong.

And there are so many of them. I tend to forget about the huge variety out there, so here is a list of popular fruits for cooking or as a garnish or however way you choose to combine them with your rhubarb creations.

Raspberries, blueberries, plums, blackberries, peaches, apples, cherries, oranges, strawberries, melon, kiwi, grapes, bananas, pineapples.

Don't throw away your orange or lemon peelings. Save a little for the freezer and you have instant zest when needed. These items are used alot in compotes and for garnish.

Did you know that if you add an acidic ingredient such as apple or citrus juice while cooking rhubarb, the red color will be preserved? Honey works well too.

We all know about rhubarb leaves being poisonous, and therefore we don't eat them. But something else very important to be aware of in cooking with rhubarb is do not eat rhubarb stalks that look like they have been damaged by frost.

These culinary-tips can't be emphasized enough. If the stems are not firm, throw them out. Frost damage can cause the oxalic acid to move into the stalks. It really isn't worth risking your health over.

Culinary-Tips For Choosing Rhubarb

Field rhubarb has "strings" running up and down the sides of the stalks like celery does. They should be removed before cooking but I have never done this. Apparently these strings are tough and this affects tenderizing the rhubarb as it cooks and affects the taste. The greener stalks will have a more sour taste than the red.

You will have to decide for yourself whether or not to remove the strings. They will break down during the cooking process.

Hothouse rhubarb does not have these strings. However, hothouse rhubarb has less flavour than field rhubarb.

Generally speaking, the deeper red the stalks are, the sweeter they are and will use less sugar in your recipe.

Remember, the color red is an indication of variety. It has nothing to do with ripeness.

How about measurement? Frequently measurement in many rhubarb recipes are given in pounds. Actually, one pound of rhubarb is equal to 3 cups of chopped raw rhubarb. This is a very commonly used measurement in so many recipes. Just thought I would quickly mention this one now!

frozen pieces of rhubarb

Culinary-tips that are important and we tend to forget -

drain frozen rhubarb well before adding to a pie.

I hope you are using parchment paper for loaves and squares. Parchment can be used on the bottom of your pans for anything in the recipes you will see here. I can't believe I only discovered it a few years ago. Lining your pans sure can save alot of cleanup. Once you use it, you will be sure to never be without it. And rhubarb can be sticky! Save yourself the energy scrubbing especially when baking-with-rhubarb.

You will see some topping mixes for crumbles and glaze. I don't measure these things. I just stir it up in a separate bowl until I think the mixture is just right.

When making crumbles with other berries, add a sprinkle of lemon juice to keep your fruit from turning brown.

Sour milk is used alot not just only in rhubarb recipes of course, but for many mixtures. Simply add a tsp. of vinegar to your milk and that will sour it right away.

Many rhubarb crumbles and puddings are topped with whipped cream or Creme Fraiche which is simply heavy cream soured. It is easy to make. Simply combine equal amounts of cream and sour cream, let stand for a day and then refrigerate. That is all there is to it.

Do you like meringue on your rhubarb pie? For higher and stiffer peaks, add a little more egg white, sugar and a pinch of cream of tartar.

These are just some simple culinary-tips to know that can apply at anytime.

Confused about measurements and oven temperatures?

See Handy Baking Measurement-Chart

Help with Basic Pastry Techniques

Missing Recipe Ingredients

Alcohol Substitutions in your Rhubarb Recipes

I hope these culinary-tips prove useful to you in your kitchen.

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