Rhubarb is a super cool vegetable (actually a fruit) that’s a marvelous element of the treats table during its season. You see it in cakes, sorbets, cocktails, waffles, buckles, and pies. It’s also found in meaty dishes and salads.
The thin stalks of rhubarb may seem sweet enough to eat without adding sugar, but they can taste sour or very sharp on the taste buds. That’s why it calls for some sugar.
If you’re watching your sugar intake, you can still treat yourself with sweetened rhubarb. You can sweeten it with some readily available, naturally-sweet substitutes or artificial sweeteners.
How to sweeten rhubarb without sugar
You can sweeten rhubarb with fresh fruit juice and fructose, fruit juices, honey, maple syrup, corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, dessert apples, or even whipped cream.
Rhubarb comes with a lovely distinct flavor that calls for just a small amount of sweetness to complement its original taste. The tangy taste of rhubarb doesn’t really call for masking it with so much sugar, so a more natural approach works better.
Now let’s take a look at all the ways to sweeten rhubarb without sugar. Here’s how the different sweeteners can help you bid farewell to sugar and delight your taste buds while enjoying rhubarb preparations.
Fresh fruit and fructose
The fact that fresh fruits contain natural sweetness makes them perfect for replacing sugar for preparing rhubarb. Some love to add fresh berries, blackberries, strawberries, or raspberries to rhubarb when whipping up a pie.
The berries make sure the pie is less sugary than when going for traditional sugar, while also keeping it taste awesome at the same time. When making a delicious fruit smoothie without adding table sugar, you can puree cooked rhubarb with your choice of fresh fruit, including bananas or berries.
Dried fruits also serve the purpose of bringing out natural sweetness to rhubarb. Boil the stalks with a scattering of dried fruit to achieve the perfect degree of sweet – you can add this mix to batters for pancakes, muffins, cakes or waffles.
Boiling rhubarb with sugar beets is yet another way to integrate rhubarb with a sweet flavor. Bursting with sweetness in an all-natural way, these beets are surprisingly versatile, and also sweeten up fresh-squeezed juice blends and smoothies. You can try blending some raw beet with your boiled and pureed rhubarb for a sweet drink.
Fruit juice, all-natural
Speaking of bringing out sweetness to rhubarb with fruit juice, the idea is to ditch water for boiling rhubarb. Instead use 100% fruit juice as a cooking liquid.
Some great options can be pineapple juice, peach or apricot juice, and apple juice to get the task done. Make sure you always go for 100% fruit juice because fruit-flavored juice usually comes loaded with added sugar and can decrease the rhubarb’s nutritional value.
You can also sweeten rhubarb with orange juice – although it’s a bit on the sharp side, but it works well.
Honey or maple syrup
Honey or maple syrup are amazing for sweetening rhubarb without sugar. It’s important to drain excess water when stewing or boiling rhubarb in order to remove the tart, acidic taste. After you bring it to a boil, you need to drain excess water, further adding fresh water and some honey or maple syrup to let it stew more.
Another idea is to roast chunks of rhubarb on a baking sheet, further drizzling them with honey and allowing the treat to cool before tossing the chunks in with greens.
Many also suggest eating rhubarb raw by simply dipping the stalk in honey, maple syrup or agave nectar. They are going to mellow the tartness and bring out a decadent flavor.
Suppose you go for artificial sweeteners to sweeten rhubarb. In that case, all it takes is a pinch of it to achieve the same level of sweetness that several teaspoons of sugar would bring.
These artificial sweeteners are a great calorie-free alternative for those looking to decrease their caloric intake or shed some extra weight.
Sprinkle the sweetener on rhubarb before you cook it or you can also add it at the stage when you are boiling rhubarb in water. Some of the good artificial sweeteners that you can use to sweeten rhubarb include sucralose, stevia and aspartame.
Sweet dessert apples are also a possible partner to rhubarb. You simply need to peel, core and slice the apples before tossing them with the rhubarb. Bake the mixture or poach it using very little water. The right level of sweetness coming from the apples will envelop the sour element of the rhubarb.
Another great idea is to poach the rhubarb very gently with some water, further mashing it using a fork and letting it cool. Once it cools down, you can mix it with an equal volume of whipped cream that’s very softly whipped. Going for a naturally sweet, good quality cream will make it totally unnecessary to add any sugar.
Bonus: cinnamon or vanilla beans
While these two don’t actively add sweetness, they tingle our taste buds in such a way that resembles sweetness. Much like strawberries taste sweet just because of their smell, cinnamon and vanilla make everything just a bit sweeter.
Of course, it depends on what you’re using the rhubarb for. But you’ll get a nice aftertaste with cinnamon or vanilla (or both).
Using naturally-sweetened rhubarb
There’s a whole spectrum of ways to eat naturally-sweetened rhubarb. Some homemade rhubarb sauce goes magically well with waffles, or you can simply work up a fresh fruit smoothie using the sauce.
For serving warm with waffles, you need to cook diced rhubarb in some 100% fruit juice to cover the same. Cook it down until the juice seems to be absorbed and evaporated, further mashing the mix using a potato masher before serving. It also tastes awesome when folded into oatmeal for breakfast.
Whether sweet or savory, rhubarb can surely play a great accompaniment to seasonal cousins like strawberries. You don’t need sugar to transform rhubarb’s sour touch into sweetness. You can use more natural methods.
If you’ve got any other food curiosities be sure to check the related articles below, we’re always adding more food facts to make your life that much easier.