Vintage rhubarb recipes your great grandma made ~ from crumbles and pies, to cordials and fools ~ and they’re ready for a delicious comeback!
vintage rhubarb recipes
Rhubarb is easy to grow and there are rhubarb patches in backyards all over America hitting their stride right now. With the proper care, it can produce from April right through fall. Rhubarb is also one of the first crops available in the spring, which helps explain why there are so many beloved rhubarb recipes out there.
Rhubarb is often paired with sweet strawberries to balance out its famously tart taste but in these classic recipes rhubarb is the star. The flavor is sour if you try to eat it raw, but cooked rhubarb mellows out and has a berry-like flavor that so many of us (raising hand!) find irresistible.
Rhubarb was definitely more popular in the past century than it is now, particularly during the early to mid-1900s. In fact, during World War II, rhubarb became an important crop because it was hardy and could grow in less than ideal conditions. Our grandmas and great-grandmas treasured their rhubarb recipes but so many of them have been forgotten. Here are just a few of the best.
Rhubarb ice cream has been around for many years and was particularly popular in the early 1900s when ice cream parlors were in their heyday. It’s since been eclipsed by modern ice cream flavors, but the tart flavor is definitely one you need to try.
Rhubarb jelly is a great way to ‘spring-i-fy’ your morning toast or scone. But did you know it was also a dessert? It was especially popular in the early to mid-20th century, when jellies and other molded desserts were in vogue.
Silky rhubarb curd is a throwback to traditional British farmhouse cooking where every last stalk of rhubarb would have been used in pies and preserves like this one.
Rhubarb crunch is a dessert that is similar to a crisp or a crumble. It is made with a layer of diced rhubarb on the bottom, topped with a mixture of oats, flour, sugar, and butter. When baked, the topping becomes crispy and golden brown, while the rhubarb becomes soft and tender.
This old time tipple is easily made by infusing cooked rhubarb with vodka. The traditional way is to let the mixture sit for about a month. My way is faster and I think produced better rhubarb flavor ~ give it a try!
This vintage rhubarb recipe has been around since the 1600s! Basically you fold cooked rhubarb into whipped cream and you’ve done it! It’s light and refreshing, but obviously rich at the same time. All in all, rhubarb fool is a fabulous spring dessert that takes hardly any effort at all.
The way they used to refresh before Coke and Pepsi! Just mix a rhubarb simple syrup with fizzy water and voila!
Strawberry shortcake doesn’t hold a candle to rhubarb shortcake! How could it? Rhubarb brings its famously tart berry flavor to the party and makes this dessert even more irresistible.
Rhubarb butter is a sweet spread made from cooked rhubarb that is blended to a smooth, buttery consistency. It concentrates the unique flavor of rhubarb
Gorgeously pink and tangy rhubarb curd bars are right off the church bazaar bake sale table, where they’re always to first to disappear.
You won’t find anything like these rhubarb dream bars at a restaurant or a bakery, they’re the kind of thing your grandma would whip up on a summer afternoon — they have a simple, vintage charm.
Old fashioned rhubarb bread is a tender quick bread loaded with sweet tart nuggets of fruit. Grandma would have offered you a slice the minute you walked into her kitchen.
This is a classic American dessert that was popular in the 19th and early 20th centuries. It is made by lining a pie crust with stewed rhubarb, then pouring a custard mixture over the top and baking until set. The Lemon Apron’s version is below.
This is one classic rhubarb dessert recipe that definitely stands the test of time, from Boulder Locavore.
Garnish and Glaze’s rhubarb pie has a gorgeous old time style lattice crust.
The University of Vermont sustainable food systems program shares this easy method for making old time rhubarb wine. I like it because you don’t need any special wine making equipment.
Eating raw rhubarb dipped in sugar is a traditional practice, especially among children, in the Northern United States, Canada, and Scandinavian countries. In Sweden it’s known as “rabarberpaj,” or rhubarb pie.
- 1 stalk raw rhubarb, washed
- sugar for dipping
- Rinse your rhubarb and trim both ends. Be sure to trim off all the leaves, as they are toxic.
- Dip the ends of the rhubarb into the sugar and enjoy! Double dipping is encouraged 🙂