Along the Grapevine

Rhubarb Flowers


DSC03071.JPGWell-established rhubarb plants tend to produce large bulbous flowers which quickly grow into large frilly masses. They can appear soon after the rhubarb is ripe for picking, and I always instinctively removed  and disposed of them knowing that once the flowers get going, the rhubarb will stop producing.DSC03079.JPG

I might at least have collected them to make a bouquet, but into the compost they went along with all the leaves of the plant. Once I learned that the flowers were edible, I was keen for my rhubarb to bolt, which with the hot spell we had recently is exactly what happened. Of course, knowing something is edible and figuring how to use it when there is not much literature on the subject opens the way for some more kitchen experiments.

The flowers can be picked at any stage – the tightly furled pinkish bulbs at first or later the loose creamy blossoms. Just be sure to remove any leaves which are still clinging to the early blooms as they are poisonous as are all rhubarb leaves.

I tried a number of things with them. First, I roasted some with vegetables such as kale, onions and mushrooms all drizzled with oil. Not as strongly flavoured or as sour as the rhubarb stock, they added a very tasty, slightly tart flavour. They did not get crisp as I had imagined – just soft. Still, they did add some interest to the usual roasted medley. DSC03077.JPG

I also added some to a salad. Delicious if I may say so myself.DSC03080.JPG

I also added them to pancake batter. Where I was using 2 cups of buckwheat flour I added 1 cup of flowers, broken into small pieces. It did not change the texture noticeably, but had a nice flavour, a little reminiscent of persimmons. Served with honeysuckle syrup it seemed a fitting breakfast for the season.DSC03081.JPG

With some flowers left over I dehydrated them and hope to use them in future recipes. Maybe they’ll find their way into this year’s Christmas cake!

Linked to Fiesta Friday, La Petite Casserole, and La Petite Paniere.


Author: Hilda

I am a backyard forager who likes to share recipes using the wild edibles of our area.

15 thoughts on “Rhubarb Flowers

  1. I have wanted to plant rhubarb for years, here is another reason. Beautiful plants and flowers.


  2. I love this! So interesting to see your experiments with the flowers 🙂


  3. You’re so lucky to have flowers and plants around you,, you’re a real forager. Your recipes look really nice, and the salad catches my eyes! Thank you for sharing these at Fiesta Friday! 🙂


  4. I had no idea you could eat the flowers, they look stunning in that salad though. Need to go out and pick some for dinner today 🙂


  5. I adore flowers in salads. I’m loving my arugula flowers right now. But the rhubarb flowers in pancakes is brilliant!


  6. How inventive! Some great ideas here.


  7. I never would have thought of eating rhubarb flowers! I don’t have any to try but I do have French sorrel which is in the same family. It’s starting to flower now so I may give them a nibble.


  8. Brilliant, and as Cynthia wrote above, very brave Hilda! I’ve never even considered that rhubarb flowers might be edible. The flavours sound delicious–tartness and even a persimmon like taste to the pancakes.


  9. Reminiscent of persimmons? I am so intrigued!


    • It is so difficult to describe new tastes except through some comparison or other. That one came to my daughter’s mind and I think that is as close as I can get.


  10. Until I read this post I hadn’t realized the rhubarb flowers were edible. They make a beautiful garnish on the pancakes.


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