The sour rhubarb stalks not only enchant with their bitter charm in cakes and desserts. They also go well with meat and salad. And their ingredients also support the metabolism. Stephanie Nickel

Since it strayed from the Himalayas to the gardens of Europe and was cultivated there in the 19th century, the bright pink rhubarb has forgotten its wild roots as a mountain plant. Today only its name reveals its “barbaric” origin.

In domestic beds, the large-leaved plant spreads like wildfire. However, the raw stalks are inedible and even cooked not to everyone’s taste. No wonder rhubarb’s best friend is sugar. The sticks owe their fruity-sour aroma to the citric, malic and oxalic acid they contain. In fact, the plant is not considered a fruit, but a vegetable. Even if rhubarb is almost exclusively prepared sweet here, it tastes great as a vegetable with meat, fish and in salads.

With just 14 kilocalories per 100 grams, the sour sticks are among the lightweights. They are high in potassium, calcium, vitamin C, fiber and various antioxidants. The high proportion of potassium (about 270 milligrams per 100 grams) helps to keep blood pressure in the green, helps with carbohydrate utilization and protein synthesis.

Rhubarb is notorious as a calcium robber. The oxalic acid binds the calcium contained in the sticks so that it cannot be absorbed into the body. The acid even temporarily attacks the tooth enamel, which explains the “rough” rhubarb feeling on the teeth. Most of the oxalic acid is found in the leaves, which is why you shouldn’t eat them. At 460 milligrams per 100 grams, raw stalks still contain a comparatively large amount of acid. This is harmless for healthy adults and adolescents. Children and people with gallbladder or kidney problems as well as gout should consume rhubarb with caution. Tip: Cooking or blanching loses some of the oxalic acid. And prepare it with dairy products, such as vanilla sauce. The calcium in the milk binds the acid, so it is no longer absorbed through the intestines.

In China, rhubarb is a popular medicinal plant. Even today, dried rhubarb root (“Rhei Radix”) is used as a mild laxative. The anthraquinones contained in the roots accelerate the gastrointestinal activity and serve as a laxative for constipation. The soluble roughage in the sticks, such as pectins and fruit acids, also have a positive effect on digestion.


Lunchtime: A crunchy colorful mix: This filling salad not only tastes fresh, it scores with vitamins, minerals and fiber

Roasted Rhubarb Salad

Ingredients for 4 servings

250 g radishes, 6 tbsp olive oil, salt, pepper, 250 g rhubarb, 2 tbsp butter, 2 tbsp honey, 2 handfuls of baby leaf lettuce, ½ handful of basil, 2 tbsp lemon juice, 125 g mini mozzarella, 3 tbsp pine nuts, Edible flowers, 30 g Parmesan shavings

1. Preheat the oven to 180 °C top/bottom heat. Wash and trim the radishes, setting aside some greens. Mix the radishes with 2 tablespoons of oil, salt and pepper and cook on the baking tray in the oven for about 15 minutes.

2. Wash, clean and cut the rhubarb into pieces. Fry with butter in a pan for 6-7 minutes. Add honey and salt.

3. Wash lettuce and basil, shake dry. Puree basil with radish greens, lemon juice and remaining oil. Arrange radishes with lettuce, rhubarb and mozzarella. Drizzle with dressing. Scatter over the pine nuts, edible flowers and Parmesan and serve.

Afternoon: Fine interaction: The sour sticks harmonize perfectly with the sweet crispy dough. An exceptional treat, lukewarm or chilled

Rhubarb galette

Ingredients for 4-6 pieces

250 g flour, 120 g cold butter, 1 pinch salt, 60 g ground almonds, 6 tbsp brown sugar, 800 g rhubarb, 4 tbsp powdered sugar, 1 egg yolk

1. Knead the flour with the butter in pieces, salt, 40 g almonds and 5 tablespoons brown sugar to form a dough. Cover the dough and chill for about 1 hour.

2. Wash the rhubarb, clean and cut into pieces approx. 10 cm long. Mix with powdered sugar in a bowl and leave to stand for about 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 200 °C top/bottom heat. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured work surface to a size of approx. 25 x 25 cm, place on a baking tray lined with baking paper and sprinkle with the remaining almonds.

3. Drain the rhubarb and place it decoratively in the middle of the dough. Fold the edges of the pastry over the rhubarb, brush with the beaten egg yolk and sprinkle with the remaining sugar. Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes.

In the evening: For guests: The hearty stew is easy to prepare. The rhubarb gives it a special aroma

Lamb knuckle with rhubarb

Ingredients for 4 servings

4 small lamb shanks (approx. 1.25 kg), 1 onion, 3 cloves of garlic, 4 stalks of rhubarb, 3 tbsp olive oil, ½ tsp cinnamon, 2 tsp coriander, 2 strips of organic orange peel, 2 tbsp tomato paste, 400 ml lamb stock, salt, pepper, 1 tbsp chopped parsley

1. Pat the meat dry. Peel onion and garlic, cut into slices. Wash, trim and cut the rhubarb into pieces. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a skillet. Brown the meat all over and remove.

2. Fry the onion and garlic in the roasting pan with the remaining oil. Add cinnamon and coriander and sauté briefly. Stir in the orange zest and tomato paste and pour over the stock. Add the meat back in and simmer, covered, for about 1 ¾ hours, stirring occasionally.

3. Simmer uncovered for a further 20 minutes or until the meat falls off the bone easily. Add rhubarb and cook for 10 minutes. Season the sauce with lemon juice, honey, salt and pepper. Serve with pearl couscous.

Rhubarb Info

A fruity, tart vegetable used like fruit

1st season: From April to the end of June you can find the sticks on our market. After that, the plant needs time to regenerate until the next year. Imported goods from greenhouses in the Netherlands or Belgium will be available from March.

2. Purchasing and storage: You can recognize fresh rhubarb by its firm and slightly shiny stalks. The ends should look juicy and not dry at all. The rhubarb will keep for several days in the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator.

3. Varieties: A distinction is made mainly between green and red rhubarb. Individual varieties hardly play a role. The only rule is: the more intense the red color of the sticks, the less sour they taste.

4. Caution: Rhubarb should never be wrapped in aluminum foil or prepared in an aluminum pot. The oxalic acid in vegetables dissolves aluminum ions, which accumulate in the food and can be harmful to health.

5. Stems and Leaves: Rhubarb is characterized by fleshy leaf stalks. The leaves of most vegetables can be eaten, but not with rhubarb. And it is only edible after heating.

6. Processing: The different types of rhubarb are all suitable for cooking, baking and juicing. You should pull off the coarse outer fibers of the sticks before processing – they are tough and get in the way of eating.

7. Supply: The season is short. If you want to enjoy rhubarb for longer, you can freeze it raw and without sugar, in pieces or as a compote for eight to ten months. Then use unthawed as a cake topping or for jam.

8. Star of jams: Rhubarb gives jams made from berries a refined, slightly sour note. The pectins contained in the sticks also support the gelling of the liquids and ensure a great consistency.