Softly Stewed Vanilla Ginger Rhubarb


The Rhubarb Pie Bargain

During rhubarb season when we were growing up, my Dad would proudly bring in a freshly cut bunch of rhubarb and announce he had a bargain to make. The bargain generally went: if he stewed the rhubarb then I would make it into a rhubarb and apple pie. He knew that I loved cooking so it was a bargain I’d happily make, especially as it meant we all got rhubarb pie for dessert!

Dad used to cook the rhubarb with a couple of spoonfuls of brown sugar as that was just the way it was done. Rhubarb has a naturally tart flavour so the addition of sugar made a delicious sweet and sour combination which lent itself perfectly to a sweet rhubarb pie. However, you don’t necessarily have to cook with rhubarb with a heap of sugar in order for it to taste good.


Softly Stewed Vanilla Ginger Rhubarb


How To Cook Rhubarb Without Sugar

Because rhubarb is mainly used for desserts it’s often mistaken to be a fruit. But it is in fact a perennial vegetable which is quite easy to grow. Rhubarb comes in both red and green varieties, so if you see green stalks in the store it’s likely they’re the green variety rather than being picked too early.

Rhubarb contains very little natural sugars so it’s a great choice for anyone on a low carb or sugar free diet, provided you don’t laden it up with sugar while cooking. Contrary to tradition, unsweetened rhubarb is quite delicious, especially when combined with something naturally sweet and creamy like unsweetened coconut yoghurt.

Another way to naturally sweeten rhubarb while cooking is with the addition of sweet spices, which brings me to this recipe for softly stewed vanilla ginger rhubarb. There are no added sugars or sweeteners in this rhubarb recipe, just sweet vanilla and warming ginger. These two spices crombine beautifully with rhubarbs tangy flavour and bring out it’s natural sweetness. While you can eat this stewed rhubarb on it’s own, it’s even better when swirled through some creamy yoghurt or dolloped on top of cereal, porridge, chia pudding or fresh fruits.


Serving Ideas For Vanilla Ginger Rhubarb

Of course, if you make this softly stewed rhubarb recipe and decide it’s far too tart for your liking, feel free to add a little sweetener of your choice. To keep it sugar free you could use a little stevia, for a low fructose option you could use either rice syrup or coconut nectar, or if you’re a honey fan a little raw honey combines beautifully with the ginger and vanilla.

I enjoy this spiced rhubarb compote piled onto a plate with my activated coconut and blackcurrant granola, unsweetened coconut yoghurt, a sprinkling of superfood powder and edible flowers. But the possibilities are endless. You could add it to a smoothie, stir it through coconut yoghurt to create a mousse-like dessert, use as a topping on pancakes or even savoury fritters!


Vanilla Ginger Rhubarb


Softly Stewed Vanilla Ginger Rhubarb

Makes: 1 jar full, approximately 8 serves
Prep time: 15 minutes   Cook time: 10 minutes

1 bunch rhubarb (approximately 500g)
5cm piece fresh ginger, finely grated
1 tsp vanilla powder
1/2 cup water

Wash the rhubarb well and chop into pieces approximately 3cm long, or as desired.

Place rhubarb in a saucepan with remaining ingredients over medium heat and bring to the boil. As soon as the mixture is boiling turn it down to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes, or until the rhubarb pieces are cooked through but still hold their shape.

Turn off the heat and leave to cool. Transfer the poached rhubarb mixture to a glass jar (or storage container of your choice) and place in the fridge to chill.

To serve, spoon the rhubarb into a bowl, top with coconut yoghurt, granola or anything that takes your fancy! To make rhubarb yoghurt, simply fold a couple of spoonfuls of poached rhubarb through plain coconut yogurt.

Vanilla ginger rhubarb will keep up to 5 days in a sealed container in the fridge, or 2 months in the freezer.