Rhubarb Butter

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I’m hooked. What a great way to preserve and enjoy this sour veggie than making it into a delicious Rhubarb Butter.

I know, I know you would probably rather eat it in a cake, but having it in a jar and use it on a cake or ice cream is pretty awesome too

rhubarb butter in a small jar, placed on white marble tray, few rhubarb stalks, cinnamon sticks and orange slices, spoon

Rhubarb butter combines the tartness of rhubarb with the sweetness of sugar and the warmth of spices like cinnamon and ginger. This creates a complex, delightful, tangy, and sweet flavor profile. It’s refreshing and so deliciously different from more common fruit spreads like strawberry jam or apple butter.

toast with rhubarb butter on a a plate, orange zest and slices, knife

Why you will love Rhubarb Butter

Flavor – Rhubarb butter is a sweet and tart, the best of both worlds.

Versatility – spread it on toast, scones, or pancakes. Use it as a filling for pastries, a topping for yogurt or ice cream, or even a glaze for meats.

Seasonal Treat – rhubarb is a springtime gem. Making rhubarb butter is a fantastic way to celebrate the season and preserve its unique flavor for later.

Healthier Option – compared to jams and jellies, rhubarb butter can be made with less sugar, letting the natural flavor of rhubarb shine through.

Ingredients, Variations and Substitutions  

ingredients to make rhubarb butter with name tags

Rhubarb –  Rhubarb is a tart, stalky vegetable often used in sweet dishes. It has a unique flavor that pairs well with sweeteners and spices. Only the stalks are edible; the leaves are toxic. Choose firm, bright stalks for the best flavor. There’s no perfect substitute for rhubarb, but you can use tart fruits like cranberries or sour cherries for a different but interesting flavor.

Honey – adds natural sweetness and a floral note to the rhubarb butter. Choose a mild honey to avoid overpowering the rhubarb’s flavor. Agave nectar, maple syrup, or additional brown sugar can be used.

Orange juice – adds a citrusy brightness that complements the tartness of the rhubarb. Freshly squeezed orange juice is best for its natural flavor. Lemon juice or lime juice can be used for a different citrus twist.

Orange Zest – provides a concentrated citrus flavor and aroma, enhancing the overall profile of the butter. Use organic oranges to avoid pesticides in the zest. Avoid the white pith as it is bitter. Lemon zest or lime zest can provide a similar citrus note.

Vanilla – adds warmth and depth, complementing the sweetness and spices in the butter. Pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste offers the best flavor. Almond extract or a small amount of vanilla bean can be used.

Cinnamon – warming spice, balancing the tartness of the rhubarb. Use ground cinnamon for ease, or whole cinnamon sticks can be simmered in the mixture and removed before blending. Nutmeg, allspice, or a blend of pumpkin pie spices can offer a different spiced profile.

Allspice and Star Anise – a mix of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves with a hint of licorice flavor, adding an interesting twist to the butter.

Equipment you will need 

  • Cutting Board and Knife
  • Measuring Cups and Spoons
  • Saucepan or Pot
  • Stirring Spoon
  • Microplane or Zester
  • Citrus Juicer
  • Blender or Immersion Blender
  • Jars with Lids
  • Ladle or Funnel
  • Optionally: Canning Equipment 
toast with rhubarb butter on it, dish with compote, spoon, knife, orange slices

Top Tips for making Rhubarb Butter

Choose fresh rhubarb – select firm, brightly colored stalks for the best flavor. Avoid any stalks that are limp or have blemishes.

Cut rhubarb evenly – chop the rhubarb into uniform pieces to ensure it cooks evenly and softens at the same rate.

Control sweetness – rhubarb is naturally very tart, so adjusting the sweetness to your taste is important. Start with the recipe’s suggested amount of sweeteners, then adjust as needed.

Cook slowly – simmer the rhubarb mixture over medium-low heat. Cooking it slowly helps to bring out the flavors and prevents burning.

Stir frequently – stir the mixture often to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pot and to ensure even cooking.

Blend thoroughly – use a blender or immersion blender to puree the mixture until smooth. This ensures a consistent texture for the butter.

Taste and adjust – taste the rhubarb butter after blending and adjust the flavors as needed. You can add more sweetener, spices, or citrus juice at this stage.

Store appropriately – store the rhubarb butter in the refrigerator and use it within a couple of weeks. For longer storage, freezing is an option.

Experiment with flavors – add different spices and flavorings.

Step-by-step instructions

  • Wash and chop the rhubarb into small, even pieces (about 1/2 inch thick).
  • Zest the orange using a microplane or zester. Then juice the orange using a citrus juicer.
  • Combine the chopped rhubarb, honey, orange juice, zest, vanilla extract, and ground cinnamon in a medium to large saucepan. Add cinnamon sticks, star anise, and allspice.

  • Place the saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir the mixture well to combine all ingredients.
  • Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer. Cook for about 20-30 minutes, stirring frequently. The rhubarb should soften and break down completely.
  • Once the rhubarb is completely softened, remove the saucepan from heat. Remove cinnamon sticks, Star Anise and Allspice.
  • Use an immersion blender to puree the mixture until smooth directly in the saucepan. If using a regular blender, allow the mixture to cool slightly, then blend in batches until smooth. Be cautious with hot liquids.

  • Taste the rhubarb butter and adjust sweetness or spices as needed. You can add a bit more honey or sugar if it’s too tart, or more spices if desired.
  • If the rhubarb butter is too runny, return it to the heat and simmer gently until it reaches your desired thickness. Stir frequently to prevent burning.

How to best enjoy Rhubarb Butter

On Breakfast Foods – Toast, Pancakes and Waffles, Yogurt and Granola or Oatmeal: 

As a Filling or Spread – sandwiches, pastries, cakes and muffins

With Savory Dishes – cheese board, meat glaze, or salad dressing

As a Dessert Topping – for ice cream, cheesecake, or pound cake

In Beverages – cocktails or tea

oval plate with croissants, toast with rhubarb butter, jar with rhubarb butter, orange slices, orange zest, jar with rhubarb butter

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Storage instructions, reheating

Refrigerator:

  • Store rhubarb butter in clean, airtight containers or jars.
  • It will last in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 weeks.

Freezer:

  • Use freezer-safe jars or containers, leaving about 1/2 inch of headspace to allow for expansion.
  • Rhubarb butter can be frozen for up to 6 months.
  • Label the containers with the date and contents. Thaw in the refrigerator before use.

Canning:

  • If you want to store rhubarb butter for up to a year, you can use a water bath canning method.
    1. Sterilize jars and lids by boiling them in water for at least 10 minutes.
    2. Fill the hot jars with hot rhubarb butter, leaving about 1/4 inch of headspace.
    3. Wipe the rims clean, apply the lids, and screw on the bands until fingertip tight.
    4. Process the filled jars in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes (adjust time for altitude if necessary).
    5. Remove jars and let them cool undisturbed for 12-24 hours. Listen for the “pop” sound indicating the jars are sealed.
    6. Check seals before storing. Sealed jars can be stored in a cool, dark place for up to a year.

Reheating Instructions

Room Temperature:

  • Take the desired amount of rhubarb butter out of the refrigerator or freezer and let it sit at room temperature for about 15-30 minutes to soften.

Microwave:

  • Place the rhubarb butter in a microwave-safe dish.
  • Microwave on low power (20-30%) in short bursts of 10-15 seconds, stirring in between, until it reaches the desired temperature.
  • Be cautious not to overheat, as it can change the texture and flavor.

Stovetop:

  • Transfer the rhubarb butter to a small saucepan.
  • Warm over low heat, stirring occasionally, until it reaches the desired temperature.
  • Adding a small splash of water or juice can help restore the consistency if it thickened too much during storage.

toast with rhubarb butter on a a plate, orange zest and slices, knife
toast with rhubarb butter on it, dish with compote, spoon, knife, orange slices

Rhubarb Butter

Sylwia Vaclavek
I’m hooked. What a great way to preserve and enjoy this sour veggie than making it into a delicious Rhubarb Butter.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Blending 5 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course sauce
Cuisine American
Servings 48
Calories 18 kcal

Equipment

  • cutting board and knife
  • measuring cups and spoons
  • saucepan or pot
  • stirring spoon
  • zester
  • citrus juicer
  • immersion blender
  • ladle

Ingredients
 
 

  • 4 cups rhubarb chopped
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 sticks cinnamon
  • 2 star anise
  • 2 berries allspice

Instructions
 

  • Wash and chop the rhubarb into small, even pieces (about 1/2 inch thick).
  • Zest the orange using a microplane or zester. Then juice the orange using a citrus juicer.
  • in a medium to large saucepan, combine the chopped rhubarb, honey, orange juice, orange zest, vanilla extract, and ground cinnamon. Add the cinnamon sticks, star anise adn allspice.
  • Place the saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir the mixture well to combine all ingredients.
  • Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer. Cook for about 20-30 minutes, stirring frequently. The rhubarb should soften and break down completely.
  • Once the rhubarb is completely softened, remove the saucepan from heat. Remove cinnamon sticks, star anise and allspice.
  • Use an immersion blender to puree the mixture until smooth directly in the saucepan. If using a regular blender, allow the mixture to cool slightly, then blend in batches until smooth. Be cautious with hot liquids.
  • Taste the rhubarb butter and adjust sweetness or spices as needed. You can add a bit more honey or sugar if it’s too tart, or more spices if desired.
  • If the rhubarb butter is too runny, return it to the heat and simmer gently until it reaches your desired thickness. Stir frequently to prevent burning.

Notes

Choose Fresh Rhubarb – select firm, brightly colored stalks for the best flavor. Avoid any stalks that are limp or have blemishes.
Control sweetness – rhubarb is naturally very tart, so adjusting the sweetness to your taste is important. Start with the recipe’s suggested amount of sweeteners, then adjust as needed.
Simmer – the rhubarb mixture over medium-low heat. Cooking it slowly helps to bring out the flavors and prevents burning.
Blend thoroughly – use a blender or immersion blender to puree the mixture until smooth. This ensures a consistent texture for the butter.

Nutrition

Serving: 2tbspCalories: 18kcalCarbohydrates: 5gProtein: 0.1gFat: 0.03gSaturated Fat: 0.01gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.01gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.005gSodium: 1mgPotassium: 39mgFiber: 0.2gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 16IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 12mgIron: 0.1mg
Keyword butter, rhubarb, rhubarb butter
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Conclusion

I guarantee you will be hooked on this Rhubarb Butter. you will want to slater it on everything. It truly is a culinary gem. So easy to make so versatile. Go ahead, make it and let me know how much you love it!

FAQ

Can I use frozen rhubarb to make rhubarb butter?

Yes, frozen rhubarb can be used. Thaw it completely before cooking, and be aware that it may release more liquid during cooking, so adjust accordingly.

Can I reduce the sugar in the recipe?

Yes, you can adjust the amount of sugar to suit your taste preferences. Keep in mind that rhubarb is naturally tart, so you may need to add more sweetener if you reduce the sugar.

Can I use other fruits with rhubarb to make fruit butter?

Absolutely! Rhubarb pairs well with many other fruits like strawberries, apples, or raspberries. Experiment with different combinations to create unique flavors.

Can I make rhubarb butter without added sugar?

Yes, you can make rhubarb butter without added sugar by using alternative sweeteners like honey, maple syrup, or stevia. Keep in mind that the flavor and texture may differ from traditional rhubarb butter.

How do I know when the rhubarb butter is done cooking?

The rhubarb butter is done cooking when the rhubarb is completely softened and the mixture has thickened to your desired consistency. It should coat the back of a spoon and hold its shape slightly when cooled.

Can I can rhubarb butter without a pressure canner?

Yes, rhubarb butter can be canned using a boiling water bath canning method. Make sure to follow proper canning procedures and adjust processing times for your altitude.

How long does homemade rhubarb butter last?

When stored in the refrigerator, homemade rhubarb butter will last for 2-3 weeks. If canned properly, it can last up to a year in a cool, dark place.

Can I freeze rhubarb butter?

Yes, rhubarb butter can be frozen for up to 6 months. Use freezer-safe containers and leave some headspace for expansion. Read more HERE about storage of Rhubarb Butter.

Can I use rhubarb butter in savory dishes?

Absolutely! Rhubarb butter can be used as a glaze for meats like pork or chicken, or as a topping for savory dishes like cheese boards or salads.

Can I adjust the spices in the recipe?

Yes, feel free to adjust the spices to your taste preferences. Experiment with different combinations or add additional spices like ginger, cardamom, or nutmeg for extra flavor.

Can I use a food processor instead of an immersion blender?

Yes, you can use a food processor instead of an immersion blender to make rhubarb butter. After cooking the rhubarb mixture until it’s soft, let it cool slightly, then transfer it in batches to the food processor and blend until smooth. Be careful with hot liquids to avoid splashing.

How can I make this into strawberry rhubarb butter?

To make strawberry rhubarb butter, replace half of the rhubarb with fresh or thawed strawberries (e.g., 2 cups rhubarb and 2 cups strawberries). Cook the strawberries and rhubarb together with the other ingredients until they are soft and blend as usual. Adjust the sweetness and spices of the strawberry rhubarb butter to taste, adding more honey or sugar if needed to balance the tartness of the rhubarb and the sweetness of the strawberries.

toast with rhubarb butter on it, dish with compote, spoon, knife, orange slices, jar with rhubarb butter

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