At its simplest, rhubarb sauce only needs three ingredients (rhubarb, a sweetener, and water) and a pot in which to stew them all together until the rhubarb loses its crispness and softens. The splash of water prevents the rhubarb from burning before it begins to release its juices.
Jump to Recipe
If you have a little more time on your hands, or want to experiment with flavors, adding vanilla bean, citrus, ginger, or even cardamom can enhance the flavor of the sauce, giving it a more balanced, complex flavor. In this recipe, I've used honey, lemon (zest and juice) and vanilla beans because it makes for a sauce that is at once simple in flavor enough to be versatile and complex enough to delight.
Simmer the rhubarb about ten minutes, or until those tough and crisp stalks finally yield to the heat of the pot and soften. You can leave the sauce as it is, or, blend it as I do with an immersion blender until it's velvety smooth. The sauce will thicken ever so slightly as it cools. And you can eat it right away, store it in the fridge up to two weeks, in the freezer for several months or can it, if you like.
How to Use Rhubarb Sauce
Rhubarb sauce, like all fruit sauces, is versatile. You can serve it on its own as you might serve applesauce: warmed up with a spoonful of cream. Or serve it stirred into custard, over homemade yogurt, drizzled over vanilla bean ice cream, or spooned onto sourdough pancakes. You can also use it in savory dishes too, as a balance to roasted pork or grilled duck.