Start to Finish: 20 minutes

Servings: 2 cups

Difficulty: Beginner

An early spring vegetable, rhubarb sauce is made only from the ruby red stalks, as the leaves are not edible. A very tart vegetable, the stalks need to be chopped, simmered and sweetened before the rhubarb is edible. Rhubarb sauce is not difficult to make and lends itself well to additional seasonings. The sauce is versatile, as it can be used for sweet and savory dishes, from broiled chicken breast to yogurt smoothies. This recipe is adapted from Canadian Living and Eat Right Ontario.

  • 10 cups fresh rhubarb, chopped
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 1/2 cups white or brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch

Combine the rhubarb and orange juice in a non-reactive pot, and bring the liquid to a boil over medium-high heat.

Add a 1/3 cup of water and 1 1/2 cups of sugar. Lower the heat to medium and let the mixture simmer for 15 minutes, stirring regularly. Turn off the heat once the rhubarb is very soft and the sugar is fully dissolved.

Pour the rhubarb mix into a blender and blend it on medium speed for 2 minutes, until the mix is very smooth. Pour the puree though a fine-mesh metal sieve, returning the puree to the pot.

Use a spatula to push as much of the puree through the sieve as possible. Discard any leftover fibers. Bring the puree in the pot back to a boil on medium heat, stirring regularly.

Stir together the cornstarch and remaining 1/3 cup of water in a small bowl, to make a slurry. Pour the slurry into the pot, and stir to thoroughly combine the ingredients. Cook for 2 to 5 more minutes, until the puree has thickened.

Remove the pot from the heat, let it cool for 5 minutes, then transfer it to an airtight container. The sauce will keep in the fridge for up to a week, or it can be frozen and stored for three to five months.

Rhubarb sauce can be drizzled, warm or at room temperature, over cakes, pies and ice cream as a sweet-tart, fruity sauce.

The sauce also works well for savory foods. Use it to dress grilled or broiled meats, such as roast beef or grilled chicken,

Blend the sauce with fresh or frozen fruit and 2 cups of water for a fast fruit juice.

Rhubarb sauce can be spiced or seasoned with dried spices, either whole or powdered.

To season the sauce with whole, dried spices, cook them with the rhubarb and orange juice. Remove the spices before blending the sauce.

Use a mix of:

  • Cinnamon sticks
  • Star anise pods
  • Whole cloves
  • Whole cardamom seeds

To season with dried ground spices, add the spices to the rhubarb and orange juice mixture, and cook as you would for a plain rhubarb sauce.

The sauce can also be seasoned with other ingredients, such as vanilla extract or lemon or orange zest.