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Cook It Now: Rhubarb

May 9, 2014
For the love of rhubarb.

Oh rhubarb, you poor thing.

No one knows whether you are a fruit or a vegetable (answer: vegetable), your leaves are frighteningly toxic and you have a measly blink-and-you’ll-miss-it season each spring.

To make matters worse, we generally deal with you by adding painful amounts of sugar shoving you into a white-flour piecrust.

But you don’t scare us.

This spring, we’re reclaiming your maligned name and celebrating you—along with your fiber, antioxidants and vitamin C—with a little help from Marisa McClellan, author of the new Preserving by the Pint: Quick Seasonal Canning for Small Spaces.

McClellan is the queen of quick and easy canning projects for those of us without our own farms and bundles of time. You can take any of her recipes, make it, scrape it into a jar and pop it into a fridge—no canning necessary.

She’s also a fellow rhubarb champion, and she shared her oven-roasted rhubarb compote recipe, which she compares to a “naked cobbler” sans crust.“Part of the pleasure of rhubarb is its natural tartness,” McClellan says. “This recipe uses the minimum sugar necessary to tame that pucker without overrunning it entirely.”

Try this beautifully simple recipe (just four ingredients!) and swirl it into yogurt or top it with granola for an insta-dessert.

It’s rhubarb redeemed.

Oven-Roasted Rhubarb Compote a.k.a. Naked Cobbler




20 min


40 min


1 pound/355 g rhubarb

1⁄4 cup/50 g granulated sugar (CP Note: Or try alternative sugars, like coconut sugar)

2 vanilla beans

1 lemon


Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C.

Wash the rhubarb and chop into 2-inch/5 cm lengths.

Arrange the rhubarb pieces in the bottom of an oven-safe baking dish. Put the sugar in a small mixing bowl. Scrape the vanilla bean seeds from the pods and add it to the sugar.

Using a fine rasp, grate the lemon zest into the sugar. Toss the sugar, vanilla seeds, and lemon zest together and sprinkle over the rhubarb pieces. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice from one half over the rhubarb.

Place the baking dish in the preheated oven and roast for 20 to 25 minutes, until the rhubarb pieces are quite tender but have not lost their shape. When they’re done, their color will have faded into a dusky pink.

While the rhubarb roasts, prepare a boiling water bath and sterilize 2 half-pint/250 ml jars. Place 2 lids in a small saucepan of water and bring to a gentle simmer.

Scoop the roasted rhubarb into the prepared jars. Wipe the rims, apply the lids and rings and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

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