Every year when fresh rhubarb makes its rounds in my garden or CSA basket, I make only one of two things with it: rhubarb crumble (on its own or with another fruit) and an oat bar sandwiched with a rhubarb jam. It’s always the same. So predictable, I know!
This year, as the opportunities to pick up fresh rhubarb locally dwindle, I challenged myself to make something different.
I wanted to capture the tartness of rhubarb, with not too much sweetness, similar to a well-balanced lemonade.
Enter my tart ruby rhubarb juice.
It’s a blend of fresh rhubarb, one whole orange and half a fresh beet. You may be tempted to leave the beet out but I don’t recommend it.
(Secret ingredient alert: the beet gives sweetness but most of all, it transforms my otherwise murky-coloured rhubarb juice a show-stopping red colour!) Not all rhubarb stalks are red, and in fact mine are usually very green when ripe, hence the need for my ‘secret’ ingredient. You might also use raspberries to give it a rosy colour but this will likely affect the flavour.
A low-calorie vegetable (and not a fruit as I used to think!), rhubarb contains vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium and calcium (though the calcium is not well absorbed). Just keep in mind that only the stalks are considered edible.
Many people describe rhubarb leaves as “poisonous” but they really just contain oxalic acid, which is also found in many other vegetables like spinach and cabbage. However, the high oxalic content in rhubarb leaves means they can be toxic if large amounts are consumed.
Here’s how to make my tart ruby rhubarb refresher:
Tart Ruby Rhubarb Refresher
Think of this a bit like a rhubarb lemonade (only using orange instead of lemon). Blend it, strain it and then add honey to taste.
- 7-8 1-foot rhubarb stalks about 280 g (be sure to remove all of the leaves for the reasons above)
- 1 medium orange, peeled
- 1/2 one medium raw beet (or about 55 g)
- 1-4 tablespoons honey
In a high-powered blender, blend all of the ingredients until well chopped and combined.
Next, strain the juice. (Keep the pulp for another day; you can add it to smoothies, use it to make fruit/vegetable crackers, or even pie.)
To your new whole foods juice, add 1-4 tablespoons of honey and mix well. You may need more or less based on how tart your rhubarb is and how sweet you like it. My rhubarb was very tart but I like it that way, so I only added 2 tablespoons.
Enjoy as is or mix with sparkling water for a refreshing summer cocktail!
What’s your favourite way to eat/prepare rhubarb? I have to expand my recipe inventory and start thinking about ideas for next year…
Life is a plate… eat up!