2

votes

Is rhubarb's notoriously tart taste a "stay away" signal or is it OK to eat? Can you hack a paleo-friendly way to make rhubarb palatable?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 16, 2011 at 8:48 PM

I love rhubarb. OK, truth be told, I'm a little obsessed with it - I have a soft spot for tart and tangy foods. Of course, as you all know, the SAD way to make rhubarb palatable is to add approximately two metric tonnes of white sugar.

Last summer, I made paleo custards with rhubarb, but I had to add very ripe cherries and (gasp) a little bit of apple juice to make them vaguely reminiscent of my rhubarb ventures in life before paleo.

So, I suppose my first question is: is there any practical reason why I shouldn't consume rhubarb at all? Is its bitter taste a natural "stay away" signal, and for what biochemical reasons should it be avoided?

If it's generally OK, have you figured out ways to make it palatable that don't send the eater into a major sugar coma? How did you do it? I'm very open-minded on approaches here because I only get to enjoy rhubarb two or three times a year max before it goes out of season.

363d0a0277a8b61ada3a24ab3ad85d5a

(4642)

on June 11, 2012
at 08:02 PM

I do the same Jenny - I pick out the rhubarb first too! I love it!

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on June 11, 2012
at 04:20 PM

YUM. Sounds gooood! (And colorful!)

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on June 11, 2012
at 04:20 PM

YUM. Sounds gooood!

7f8bc7ce5c34aae50408d31812c839b0

(2698)

on June 11, 2012
at 02:56 PM

My grandma had a big rhubarb plant when we were kids and I got addicited to raw rhubarb. Still love to eat it raw with TONS of salt on it today.

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on June 11, 2012
at 02:53 PM

Haha, and I pick the rhubarb pieces out of the pie to eat them first. I love the tart.

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on June 11, 2012
at 02:52 PM

When I was a kid eating it raw, we used to dip the end in brown sugar to take the edge off (especially at the thick end, tarter!).

35b6ce9b7f9dda8d40d3e6a1812ab0a9

(439)

on June 29, 2011
at 01:53 AM

my neighbor has a plant that tastes that good. I'm betting it is an old variety. Other ones on the same block (same soil, rain, etc) don't taste half as good. Even my kids were eating it raw last year. We haven't raided the neighbor's yard for it this year but we should.

Aead76beb5fc7b762a6b4ddc234f6051

(15239)

on March 17, 2011
at 12:42 AM

*droool* im another rhubarb lover. its good stuff. i think ive had it just roasted before, plain, maybe a bit of brown sugar, and it was pretty fantastic.

Aead76beb5fc7b762a6b4ddc234f6051

(15239)

on March 17, 2011
at 12:41 AM

YUM melissa that sounds great! and i love all these cool little tid bits of knowledge that you bring here. thank you!

Aead76beb5fc7b762a6b4ddc234f6051

(15239)

on March 17, 2011
at 12:40 AM

i love rhubarb! the tartness and texture is perfectly complimented by the uber-sweetness of the strawberries. theres not much sweeter than a fresh, in-season, wild strawberry. you know what they say- what grows together, goes together.

Aead76beb5fc7b762a6b4ddc234f6051

(15239)

on March 17, 2011
at 12:39 AM

i used to eat it raw when i was a kid! yum! i also used to drink vinegar though, so maybe something else was going on....

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18452)

on March 16, 2011
at 11:22 PM

very interesting. i am all by my lonesome. last time i had a strawberry rhubarb pie I ended up picking out all the rhubarb pieces. just didn't like it. weird.

Medium avatar

(12379)

on March 16, 2011
at 11:05 PM

i like it too! maybe it's a flavour that women prefer - or maybe it's just these three women ;)

D30ff86ad2c1f3b43b99aed213bcf461

on March 16, 2011
at 10:59 PM

Since I also adore straight rhubarb pie, I'll say that yes: yes, I do!! :)

0bcefaa82dc94f93ce705f86e235f335

(1591)

on March 16, 2011
at 09:45 PM

Oh gosh, I looooove rhubarb. But since I'm off sweeteners, I think I have to give it up. :(

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on March 16, 2011
at 09:29 PM

I think it's delicious. Very nice tart flavor.

Medium avatar

(12379)

on March 16, 2011
at 09:05 PM

that sounds like a great paleo substitue for strawberry rhubarb pie!!

D30ff86ad2c1f3b43b99aed213bcf461

on March 16, 2011
at 08:55 PM

Sounds delicious - a nice special occasion treat.

D30ff86ad2c1f3b43b99aed213bcf461

on March 16, 2011
at 08:54 PM

My _favorite_ pie, far and away. :)

Medium avatar

(12379)

on March 16, 2011
at 08:50 PM

this is going to be my first rhubarb season while eating paleo - I am really interested in the answers here because I love rhubarb - especially rhubarb strawberry pie!

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10 Answers

8
9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on March 16, 2011
at 08:51 PM

It wasn't used in Western culture until the 1700s I think, when it was imported from China, where it is used as a remedy for constipation, among other things. It was used in Europe mainly as such a remedy until sugar became more widespread and then it was transformed into a dessert. It is very high in oxalic acid. But it has a very short season. I put it in the food processed with strawberries, process until coarse, and let that mixture stand overnight in fridge. Then I make a topping in the food processer of walnuts, coconut, and honey...a crumble of sorts. I then bake that until crispy. Pretty good.

I guess just be mindful of the oxalates and laxative properties and consume in reasonable quantities.

Medium avatar

(12379)

on March 16, 2011
at 09:05 PM

that sounds like a great paleo substitue for strawberry rhubarb pie!!

Aead76beb5fc7b762a6b4ddc234f6051

(15239)

on March 17, 2011
at 12:41 AM

YUM melissa that sounds great! and i love all these cool little tid bits of knowledge that you bring here. thank you!

D30ff86ad2c1f3b43b99aed213bcf461

on March 16, 2011
at 08:55 PM

Sounds delicious - a nice special occasion treat.

3
E55906cdb6839a23fd740ad85d160cc8

(1159)

on June 11, 2012
at 03:13 PM

I'm in the middle of making rhubarb, beet, and strawberry fruit leather in the dehydrator. It's fantastic.

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on June 11, 2012
at 04:20 PM

YUM. Sounds gooood! (And colorful!)

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on June 11, 2012
at 04:20 PM

YUM. Sounds gooood!

3
68dba652f7ab4af05ad43bf9f15bff64

on March 18, 2011
at 11:19 AM

Rhubarb contains oxalic acid, both the stems, roots and leaves are toxic - it would give you a stomach ache if you eat too much of it. This is especially the case before it is cooked. That is the reason people often eat custard, cream or ice cream with it. The dairy products counteract the acid, removing the risk of getting an upset stomach.

3
A68f24168bc0de414a038037e287b581

on March 17, 2011
at 04:56 PM

I used to eat it raw as a kid, we got the stick, peeled the outside skin, and sucked/chew on it for hours :) You can't eat a lot at once, too tart.

35b6ce9b7f9dda8d40d3e6a1812ab0a9

(439)

on June 29, 2011
at 01:53 AM

my neighbor has a plant that tastes that good. I'm betting it is an old variety. Other ones on the same block (same soil, rain, etc) don't taste half as good. Even my kids were eating it raw last year. We haven't raided the neighbor's yard for it this year but we should.

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on June 11, 2012
at 02:52 PM

When I was a kid eating it raw, we used to dip the end in brown sugar to take the edge off (especially at the thick end, tarter!).

7f8bc7ce5c34aae50408d31812c839b0

(2698)

on June 11, 2012
at 02:56 PM

My grandma had a big rhubarb plant when we were kids and I got addicited to raw rhubarb. Still love to eat it raw with TONS of salt on it today.

3
Medium avatar

(12379)

on March 16, 2011
at 09:21 PM

Found a great website called the rhubarb compendium here's a link to the recipes page: http://www.rhubarbinfo.com/recipes There's loads of sugar in a lot of the recipes - but some great recipes for savory main dishes that have rhubarb in them. They have some really great info on the site as well for everything regarding rhubarb!

2
E1e798ccd4eed67665652941b9ef7796

(483)

on June 11, 2012
at 03:33 PM

Cut into 1.5 inch lengths and roast in oven (180C) with juice of an orange, grated fresh ginger and a squeeze of honey. Just long enough to soften but retain shape. Orange helps stop that 'furry teeth' feeling. Serve w Greek yoghurt or whipped cream (if you're that way inclined). Delicious!

1
Fe33d1321dad116f6fedd60266d0498b

on March 18, 2011
at 12:29 AM

Its bitter taste is indeed a stay-away feature- but the thing you have to stay away from entirely is the leaves, which are toxic. :) The stems are fine.

I think the main reason rhubarb+strawberry is so popular is because strawberry comes into season around the same time, and has a high sugar content to offset the tartness. Perhaps experiment with your own tartness-threshold? Try halving the sugar, or quartering and replacing that quarter with honey.

1
Bad3a78e228c67a7513c28f17c36b3cf

(1387)

on March 16, 2011
at 09:38 PM

I used to love rhubarb as a child. My maternal grandparents, from Germany, always had some growing in their big garden. I have not had any in years. But if I were to have some, I would probably try to prepare it with a glucose only sweetener, like rice syrup, ala Perfect Health Diet.

Aead76beb5fc7b762a6b4ddc234f6051

(15239)

on March 17, 2011
at 12:39 AM

i used to eat it raw when i was a kid! yum! i also used to drink vinegar though, so maybe something else was going on....

0
94b3883f41f122ac0be4e20845311ed3

on June 11, 2012
at 02:47 PM

I like rhubarb alot and the way I prepare it is to cut into 1/2 inch pieces.Then when you get alot cut up and into a large bowl pour boiling water over it,let stand for about an hour.Pour off water and use however you want.This takes some of the tartness out of the rhubarb.I usually cut up alot at a time and freeze it for later use.Lou 2012 June.

0
Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18452)

on March 16, 2011
at 09:15 PM

I've always kinda wondered why strawberry rhubarb pie is popular. it's almost like someone didn't know what to make with rhubarb (similar to your question here) and so they thought of putting it into a delicious strawberry pie... and viola! delicious strawberry rhubarb pie!.... errr.. except for the fact that the rhubarb part of that equation is bland at best. seems to me that the infamous strawberry rhubarb combo got popular because of a sort of "folklore-ish" regard that people somehow developed toward it. but let's say someone is standing over you with a razor sharp machete and you're hooked up to a lie detector test and you have to be REALLY honest.

THEM: "Eat a piece of just the rhubarb out of that there pie. Do you like it?"

YOU: ???

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on March 16, 2011
at 09:29 PM

I think it's delicious. Very nice tart flavor.

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18452)

on March 16, 2011
at 11:22 PM

very interesting. i am all by my lonesome. last time i had a strawberry rhubarb pie I ended up picking out all the rhubarb pieces. just didn't like it. weird.

Aead76beb5fc7b762a6b4ddc234f6051

(15239)

on March 17, 2011
at 12:40 AM

i love rhubarb! the tartness and texture is perfectly complimented by the uber-sweetness of the strawberries. theres not much sweeter than a fresh, in-season, wild strawberry. you know what they say- what grows together, goes together.

D30ff86ad2c1f3b43b99aed213bcf461

on March 16, 2011
at 10:59 PM

Since I also adore straight rhubarb pie, I'll say that yes: yes, I do!! :)

Medium avatar

(12379)

on March 16, 2011
at 11:05 PM

i like it too! maybe it's a flavour that women prefer - or maybe it's just these three women ;)

363d0a0277a8b61ada3a24ab3ad85d5a

(4642)

on June 11, 2012
at 08:02 PM

I do the same Jenny - I pick out the rhubarb first too! I love it!

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on June 11, 2012
at 02:53 PM

Haha, and I pick the rhubarb pieces out of the pie to eat them first. I love the tart.

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