Rhubarb is a fruit-like vegetable that has gotten more popular over the past few years. It provides a lovely tart flavor that allows it to improve the taste of various types of dishes. When paired with the right amount of sweetness, rhubarb’s unique taste can improve snacks as well.
However, you could be looking to substitute rhubarb for something else from time to time if you’re a chef who loves to try new things.
What is the best substitute for rhubarb? The best substitute for rhubarb is cranberries, thanks in no small part to their similar taste and flavor. Cranberries also work for different dishes, and you can enjoy them in various forms. This versatility makes them easy to work and cook with – a perfect condition for any chef.
An Overview of Rhubarb
By all accounts, rhubarb is an interesting vegetable. It has been used for culinary and medicinal purposes over the past few years, although its culinary application has been more popular. The vegetable became especially popular in the 18th and 19th centuries as a great addition to desserts. Since then, its application has grown even more.
Rhubarb is also renowned because of its operational versatility. It works with different types of dishes, and you can use it in various forms. Rhubarb can be stewed, roasted, sautéed, sauced, and more. Most people prefer to stew it, as this is a great way to go with things like ice cream and other dessert forms. You can even integrate stewed rhubarb into cocktails and more.
The primary shortcoming for rhubarb is availability. Rhubarb is a seasonal plant, so you might not be able to find it at some specific points in the year. At the same time, rhubarb still isn’t as globally famous as some other vegetable options. So, you might not be able to find it close to you.
Why Substitute Rhubarb?
- Taste differences: Rhubarb’s tart flavor might not go well with some people. If you’re such a person, you will need to get a good substitute for it.
- Non-availability: For all its benefits, rhubarb isn’t so widespread. This is why many people will prefer to get a substitute that can work in its stead simply.
Options for Rhubarb Substitutes
Best Overall Substitute for Rhubarb: Cranberries
Cranberries work as the best substitute for rhubarb primarily due to their taste. Sweet and juicy, cranberries have a similar flavor to rhubarb. You will also appreciate how easy it is to substitute cranberries for rhubarb – another benefit that comes from the similar taste profiles.
At the same time, cranberries are versatile substitutes. Whether you’re looking to make a fresh fruit salad or you’re making an entire dish, cranberries stand in seamlessly for rhubarb. You can enjoy cranberries roasted, and you can even add them into a muffin recipe instead of rhubarb.
You should note that there are some dishes where you might need to be careful when applying cranberries. For instance, you could add raw cranberries when making garden salads, but most people will recommend that you roast them first. You can use the roasted cranberries in place of roasted rhubarb chunks mixed with sugar or honey.
Cranberries even work when you need a chutney or a sauce – just like rhubarb. For a quick energy snack, feel free to try a rhubarb cranberry tart. At the same time, you could just as well use the same bars with just cranberries if rhubarb isn’t so readily available near you.
If you love using dried rhubarbs for snacks, you could also replace them with dried cranberries. Thanks to the texture and taste similarities, you won’t be missing much at all.
Best Substitute for Making Jam: Quinces
Quinces aren’t so popular when it comes to fruits. However, if you can find them nearby, you should be able to use them as an excellent substitute for rhubarbs. These fruits come with a lovely taste that is akin to a cross between apples and pears. They are small with yellow exteriors, and they come with a similar flavor to rhubarbs.
If you’re looking to optimize the flavor of your quinces, you could also add some lemons to them.
Quinces are especially ideal for making jam or some other jelly-like paste. Their tart-like flavor has a sweet balance, so you’re sure to love using quinces in baking or as a tart for desserts.
As explained, quinces also work well when it comes to baking. Whether you use them as syrup or you’re trying to make beautiful cakes with a hint of tang, quinces are perfect for you. A tart of quinces can also be used over cakes, providing possibly a better option than even rhubarb.
When it comes to roasting, rhubarb is also great for substituting rhubarb. Roasted quinces work in place of roasted rhubarb, and you can make things even better by adding some cinnamon and honey. Bake slices of roasted quinces, and add them to salads. Or, you could enjoy them raw with a fresh lemon squeeze.
Best Alternative Substitute: Raspberries
We already know that the best substitutes for rhubarb are cranberries. However, cranberries aren’t so readily available in the summertime. So, you want something that can work in this period. Ergo, raspberries.
Raspberries might not taste so much like rhubarb, but they work as a suitable substitute nonetheless. You can add some lime to balance the sweetness and provide a lovely tart to the treats.
One of the primary benefits of raspberries is that they work for different purposes. You can use them to make pies, jellies, bake, and even to make tarts. You can also use raspberries in their roasted form. Whatever you can make with rhubarb, you can make with raspberries. Also, raspberries are an ideal, one-for-ins substitute for rhubarb. So, the application is relatively easy.