an easy to make marinated raw rhubarb dessert
Rhubarb is an incredible addition to any Spring or Summer dessert but it can be difficult to know how to eat it, if you don’t cook it.
Most people stew rhubarb with a fair amount of sugar. Its tartness means that it calls for a healthy dose of sweetener. However, marinating the rhubarb is a good alternative to stewing since it helps the rhubarb to keep its shape and stops it getting too mushy.
I love this marinated in orange juice with a splash of Dà Mhìle Botanical Welsh gin with its notes of rose petals, dandelion and peppery cloves. Rosemary and rhubarb is a match made in heaven – it might seem a strange herb to add to the marinade, but be brave. Rhubarb is technically a vegetable not a fruit.
I like to use champagne rhubarb (sometimes called forced rhubarb) which appears around the start of the new year as I love its sweeter flavour, delicate stems and vibrant colour. The stalks of ‘forced’ rhubarb are pinker and more tender than the rhubarb grown later in the season. However, this recipe works well with rhubarb all the way through the rhubarb season.
‘Forcing’ rhubarb means giving the rhubarb conditions to grow where it thinks it’s warmer than it really is giving rise to the pinker, tender, sweeter, stalks. It is a result of an accidental discovery (like all the best discoveries), at the Chelsea Physic Garden where some rhubarb was accidently covered by builder’s rubble. The resulting rhubarb that had been covered was so much sweeter, that this new technique for growing rhubarb was developed. In the UK, forced rhubarb has been grown in the Wakefield area – known as the Yorkshire rhubarb triangle – since the late 1880s.
This marinated rhubarb is delicious served with almond cream or ice cream.
- 4 cups champagne rhubarb, thinly sliced
- 1 cup orange juice
- 1/3 cup raw honey or agave
- 3 tablespoons gin (optional)
- 1 tablespoon juniper berries
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary
- Pinch sea salt
- Slice the rhubarb into chunks about 1/2 inch thick.
- Bruise the sprig of rosemary to release the oils.
- In a shallow container, combine the orange juice, honey/agave, bruised rosemary, gin (if using), juniper berries and sea salt.
- Tumble in the rhubarb into the container and combine gently with the marinade.
- Marinate for 24 – 48 hours in the fridge, stirring gently every few hours to coat the rhubarb and enable it to become infused with the flavours.
- Remove the sprig of rosemary and the juniper berries before serving.
- Serve with your favourite cream or ice cream.