The savory side of rhubarb

Updated: July 13, 2018 - 9:45 am

Have you heard the old saying, “Only pick rhubarb in months without an ‘R’ in them?”

While many tend to be done with the crop in the spring, rhubarb is often in abundance throughout the summer. If you find yourself with excess in your garden or freezer, why not try a new recipe?

Rhubarb is packed with potassium, fiber, calcium and vitamin C, which aid in bone, fluid and digestive health. Although rhubarb is typically seen in many desserts and pastries with sugar masking the sourness, there are many recipes you can try that are, in fact, savory.

Adding rhubarb to soups is one example. Try a simple and delicious carrot and rhubarb soup by roasting 2 ½ cups of carrots, 1 cup of rhubarb, a dash of olive oil, black pepper and cloves in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes, or until carrots are tender. Transfer to a large pot and add 1 teaspoon of turmeric and 1 liter of vegetable stock. Simmer for 15–20 minutes and then blend all ingredients until smooth.

Another savory rhubarb recipe, this one for chutney (below), comes from one of Mill City Farmers Market’s chef-led cooking demonstrations, which take place at 10:30 a.m. every Saturday.

The Mill City Farmers Market is Minneapolis’ trusted source for local and organic groceries, seasonal cooking inspiration, live music, free outdoor yoga and more. You can find more recipes and learn more at millcityfarmersmarket.org. 

Chopped rhubarb and red onion

Rhubarb chutney

By market chef Nick Schneider 


  • ½ cup honey
  • 1/3 cup cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoon minced fresh ginger root
  • 1 teaspoon whole cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon whole cloves
  • 1 teaspoon whole mustard seeds
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon dried red chili pepper
  • 4 cups diced fresh rhubarb
  • ½ cup chopped red onion
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins


  • Combine the ingredients from honey through chili pepper in a large saucepan. Bring to a simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally. 
  • Increase heat to medium-high and cook until rhubarb is tender and mixture thickens slightly. Start with lid on, stirring occasionally.

 Directions for the canning process:

  • While chutney is cooking have a large heavy bottom pot or a canner full of water heating to a boil.
  • Sterilize canning jars for 10 minutes in boiling water. Remove with long tongs.
  • Add in hot chutney; fill to a ¼ inch from top. With a sterilized rubber spatula, let out air bubbles.
  • Top with cap that has been sitting in 180 F water on the side. Screw on lid just until a little tight. 
  • Lower jars into boiling water bath. If you have a removable heavy wire rack that holds the jars use that.
  • Boil jars under 1 inch of water for 10 minutes.
  • Remove and spread out slightly. Allow jars to cool out of any draft, which may cause the jars to crack.
  • Over the next 10–15 minutes’ jars will form a vacuum as indicated by a “clicking” sound. The lids will have popped downward, concave style.