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Rhubarb Ice Cream

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May 15th, 2008 · Print Print

On my way home from work last night, I stopped into the grocery store to pick up a few things, and noticed that rhubarb was on sale this week.  I have kind of an unspoken motto in my kitchen, which is that if I’m going to try to make a dish that I’m not sure will be successful, I try to do it when the ingredients are either a) on sale, or b) about to expire, figuring that it’s less waste if I end up throwing the whole thing out.

So, with an idea for the rhubarb brewing in my head, I went to the check-out line.  As I was placing my items on the counter, a guy behind me in line asked curiously, “what are you going to do with that?”

And here is something that almost every twenty-something girl in Manhattan knows: if a random stranger asks you a question in the supermarket, you are probably getting hit on.  Particularly if you are buying an item that suggests that you can actually cook, and the guy behind you is carrying a pile of Lean Cuisines.  But, frankly, I was so excited about my rhubarb idea that I was willing to take it as friendly curiosity.

“I’m going to make ice cream!” I exclaimed.

His face fell.  Obviously, this was the wrong answer.  “Rhubarb ice cream?”  He looked at the cashier, and said slowly, “I wouldn’t eat that.”

Um, excuse me?  I’m not making it for you, so I could care less whether you would eat it or not.  But in addition to vaguely creeping me out, I found his response a little insulting.  Sure, I could make some strawberry-rhubarb pie like everyone has tasted a million times, but I wanted to try something a little bit different.

And, most important of all, I was right and he was wrong.  This ice cream was awesome.  Fruity and fresh and creamy and sweet, like strawberry ice cream with a kick.  It’s a perfect summer dessert — for those of you with ice cream makers, add this to your list.

And if anyone happens to ask you what you’re making with the rhubarb, just tell them you’re making meatballs.  And watch them run.

Rhubarb Ice Cream

4 stalks rhubarb, about 1 1/4 lbs
1 cup water
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup skim milk

1. Trim the ends of the rhubarb stalks and chop them into 1/2″ pieces.  Place the pieces in a saucepan with sugar and water on high heat.
2. Boil the rhubarb for about 10-15 minutes, or until broken down with a jelly-type consistency.
3. Remove the rhubarb from the saucepan, and blend or puree in a food processor until smooth.  Place the pureed rhubarb in the refrigerator to cool for at least 2 hours.
4. Add cream and milk to the rhubarb and churn in an ice-cream machine for about 40 minutes, or until thick and creamy.  Serve immediately, or freeze for a less-melty consistency.

Makes about 2 pints of ice cream.


Tags: desserts · food

61 responses so far ↓

  • 1 rachel // May 15, 2008 at 7:45 am

    Rhubarb ice cream sounds great! I love rhubarb in any thing!

  • 2 Kristen // May 15, 2008 at 7:59 am

    I love ice cream, and think rhubarb ice cream sounds like a yummy sophisticated sort of ice cream, but I wonder how rhubarb sorbet would be…

  • 3 Ann // May 15, 2008 at 9:02 am

    I think it sounds amazingly delicious. And, dammit, I am sooooooo close to buying an ice cream maker, which I have NO ROOM FOR! I blame you. :-)

  • 4 mimi // May 15, 2008 at 9:44 am

    random stranger asking questions anywhere here in the city is almost always a pick up line … bookstore, concert, tennis court, subway platform, and yes, supermarket!

    i love all your ice cream posts. i don’t have a maker. so i live vicariously through all the bloggers that do!

  • 5 Andy // May 15, 2008 at 10:18 am

    I have been wanting to try and make more ice cream.  My girlfriend has a machine, so now I just need to get her to let me use it.

  • 6 VeggieGirl // May 15, 2008 at 10:47 am

    That guy in the check-out line doesn’t know what he’s missing – rhubarb ice cream sounds absolutely FABULOUS!!!

  • 7 Joanna // May 15, 2008 at 10:55 am

    I’ve never tried rhubarb before, but it seems to be popping up on blogs all over the place so I think I might just have to try some.  That swirly pink-and-white picture at the end of your post has convinced me!

    Also your checkout line story is too funny, I had a similar incident just a few days ago with spaghetti squash.  At first I thought the guy was actually interested in cooking with it, but it rapidly became clear he was just trying to start a squash-based conversation.  Um, no thanks creepy older dude…

  • 8 Kitt // May 15, 2008 at 11:42 am

    Definitely trying that! Love rhubarb.

    I had a grocery store pickup attempt recently too, with ground veal.

    “What are you going to do with that?”

    “Make spaghetti sauce.”


    “It’s not hard to do.”

    “Well, my wife left me recently and I have to learn how to cook …”

    Dude, you need to learn a few other skills, too.

  • 9 katy // May 15, 2008 at 1:57 pm

    You guys rock.  I knew you’d appreciate this recipe — even if the rando in the grocery store was unimpressed.

    Kristen — I think rhubarb sorbet would be great, but it would be a lot stronger-tasting than this — the flavor in this one is so mellow and creamy!

    Marc — When she’s not looking, put that sucker in your backpack. :-) Just kidding… I’m sure she’d love for you to make her some ice cream!

    Kitt, Mimi and Joanna — Hilarious!  The men in this city are seriously on the prowl.  It’s funny, because sometimes I do see in advice columns, “try meeting women at the supermarket!”  Don’t they realize that some women don’t want to be bothered while they’re busy planning dinner?

  • 10 MyKitchenInHalfCups // May 15, 2008 at 2:05 pm

    Now that one makes me smile and then laugh Katy.  Yes, let’s do make rhubarb meatballs!
    But, let’s also have some of this ice cream.  Um what would this be like with a rhubarb cobbler?  I think it might be extra good.
    Gorgeous photos!

  • 11 francesca // May 15, 2008 at 2:18 pm

    looks delicious, I have the machine I will prepare it, I have never tried a rhubarb ice cream before, I’m curious to taste.
    thanks for the idea

  • 12 adele // May 15, 2008 at 3:08 pm

    Mmm. That looks lovely and cool and summery… proving that supermarket guy is lacking in both conversational grace AND taste. :P

    (I would have said “mac and cheese,” and watched his brain have a meltdown.)

  • 13 giz // May 15, 2008 at 4:30 pm

    I just happened to stumble on your blog.  Rhubarb?? Ice Cream?? Oh man, I need an ice cream machine.

  • 14 emily // May 16, 2008 at 4:53 am

    soon ill be going to the market with you, and protect you from such miscreants…actually chad will probably do a better job of that!!  lame boys do make for a fun read, however.  im crazy for rhubarb, you know this…and i plan on serving pie (and your ice cream) at my theoretical wedding in the sky!! You know what would be nice, is some cookies crumbled on top, or something like that…invert the whole pie idea!!

  • 15 emily // May 16, 2008 at 4:54 am

    Also, re: Kitt’s supermarket interaction (one sided haha)….why do boys/men think that NOT being able to cook is cute/a turn on…quite the contrary!!  I’d be far more impressed if he let slip that he just perfected duck a l’orange!!

  • 16 Katherine // May 16, 2008 at 6:05 am

    I hate it when people assume stuff like that when they have no idea of what they’re talking about. Excuse YOU for having creative, sophisticated taste! I wouldn’t have thought that rhubarb ice cream was a bad idea. On the contrary, I would have thought, “wow, this person really knows how to cook to be making something so unusual.” Has he ever been to a fancy restaurant that gets creative with its ingredients? (I think I have seen rhubarb ice cream on the dessert menu of fancy restaurants before, btw.)

  • 17 Patricia Scarpin // May 16, 2008 at 8:30 am

    What an idiot – and of course you are right, this is mouthwatering!

  • 18 Cakespy // May 16, 2008 at 11:57 am

    Of course, being right is the most important thing. Whenever Danny challenges me like that, I look at him uncomprehending and say “But you KNOW I’m always right.” And I usually am. I love rhubarb!! This looks awesome!

  • 19 Meghan // May 16, 2008 at 11:57 am

    Sounds so good!  I’d love to try it–but I don’t have an ice cream maker.  What kind do you recommend?

  • 20 katy // May 16, 2008 at 2:11 pm

    Meghan — I sent you an email, but for everyone’s benefit — I use this one.

    It’s a little bit noisy, but it works perfectly for ice cream and sorbet.  And, particularly in NY apartments with very little storage space (mine sits on a windowsill), I like that it’s at least semi-decent looking. :-)

  • 21 Kitt // May 16, 2008 at 5:29 pm

    Rhubarb and cream purchased! I’m serving this tomorrow night.

  • 22 Joy the Baker // May 16, 2008 at 9:06 pm

    I adore you!  The story of the totally rando guy in the grocery store totally had me cracking up!  I hope you gave him a dirty look.  You’re ice cream looks delicious!  Inspired!

  • 23 Marc @ No Recipes // May 16, 2008 at 10:04 pm

    Hahahah… great story. Glad to see you didn’t let that asshole dissuade you from making this very creative dish.

  • 24 Valerie Adams // May 16, 2008 at 11:44 pm

    Hmm…people are so weird sometimes. It’s your rhubarb, you’re buying, I should think you would know what is good and what is not.

    I’ve practiced my evil eyes since I was born, so people usually don’t bother me when I’m out and about. hahaha. It works.

  • 25 Kitt // May 17, 2008 at 1:42 am

    Oooh, this stuff is creamy!  I’m freezing it overnight and will scoop it with a melon baller and serve with some strawberries on top with a sprig of mint in a champagne glass (a href=””>like this).

    A guest is bringing cookies, too.

    Thanks for dessert!

  • 26 Kitt // May 17, 2008 at 1:43 am

    Whoops! Sorry for the bad link.

    Try this.

  • 27 cookinpanda // May 17, 2008 at 5:39 am

    This is so interesting.  And exciting.  Now if only I had an ice cream maker… It might just have to be my next kitchen purchase…

  • 28 Elle // May 17, 2008 at 12:52 pm

    What a total moron that guy was!  I hope he reads this, but that would be wishful thinking, right?  I love this idea!  It’s easy to fall into a rut with rhubarb, like you said–with strawberry rhubarb pie.  Your idea was really creative and it looks fabulous!

  • 29 Breakfast Links Interview // May 17, 2008 at 3:10 pm

    […] very close runner up to recipe of the week, Katy at Sugarlaws has a recipe for rhubarb ice cream. I like her willingness to try a non-standard flavor for ice cream. Also, I am looking for a good […]

  • 30 Kitt // May 18, 2008 at 10:34 am

    The rhubarb ice cream was enjoyed by one and all!

  • 31 katy // May 18, 2008 at 10:28 pm

    Kitt — Yay!  I’m so happy to hear it!

  • 32 Carol // May 19, 2008 at 2:23 pm

    Wish I’d seen this a few days ago when I was contemplating the three packages of rhubarb on the “bruised produce” rack. Would have been perfect. Next time!

  • 33 holler // May 21, 2008 at 6:17 pm

    Gorgeous! My mum is bringing me some rhubarb tomorrow, so I am going to get the ice cream maker out. I made the obligitory strawberry & rhubarb tart at the weekend, but for me it was a triumph as Graham claims he doesn’t like rhubarb. I have been lucky this year on the rhubarb front, I haven’t had to buy a single stalk yet.

  • 34 Paula // May 23, 2008 at 11:52 am

    Silly man he doesn’t know what he’s missing! I’m going to make this right away. Just got the most beautiful rhubarb from my parents farm. Now I know what I’m going to do with it!!

  • 35 ice cream // May 23, 2008 at 10:46 pm

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  • 36 nutnhune // Jun 18, 2008 at 10:48 am

    First of all the guy is an idiot.
    If this works expect a proposal,
    because i may love you.
    Rhubarb ice cream. Are you kidding me!

  • 37 Lisa // Jul 1, 2008 at 11:17 am

    You saved my behind! The local newspaper was doing a story on locavores and I was chosen to prepare a meal for them to sample. I had buffalo steaks, salad fixins and stuff for zucchini souffle, but nothing for dessert. I did have an abundance of rhubarb, did a google search, and there was your recipe. I made it and it was fantastic! And such a pretty shade of pink. Thanks! (I’ll have a link to the newspaper article on my blog sometime next week.)

  • 38 » Blog Archive » Locavore challenge . . . or thank goodness we have chickens! // Jul 1, 2008 at 1:41 pm

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  • 41 Nicole // May 4, 2009 at 8:48 pm

    I have just started a diet program and they told me to eat Rhubarb with cream. How do i cook the Rhubarb.

  • 42 David4 // May 5, 2009 at 1:29 pm

    Awesome!  Thanks!  I was looknig for a Rhubarb Ice Cream recipe that was really ice cream and not rhubarb ice.  :)

  • 43 sherlonyascape » Blog Archive » Everyday for the rest of May // May 16, 2009 at 4:28 pm

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  • 44 coloring and a sneak peek « little cumulus // May 23, 2009 at 4:59 pm

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  • 47 Melody // Jun 17, 2009 at 11:31 am

    I have a big patch of rhubarb and decided I wanted to make something really different with it.  I used your recipe for ice cream and it was fantastic.  Thanks!

  • 48 jerry // Jun 19, 2009 at 2:08 pm

    I came across your post from a google search.  I was thinking of picking up some Rhubard tomorrow since it is in season and there is a new farmers market opening here.  I have a batch of Vanilla custard waiting to freeze tomorrow so I think I will make the Rhubard mix tomorrow and freeze it on sunday!

    Will make a good father’s day conversation peice!

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  • 50 Zach // Apr 26, 2010 at 7:37 pm

    I was trying to figure out what to do with my rhubarb that grows on the side of my new house and after eating some raspberry ice cream the other day, the thought of rhubarb ice cream popped into my head. I decided to turn to Google because even though I have an ice cream maker, I’ve never really experimented. Yours was one of the first recipes I saw and it looked perfect. Thank you for sharing this, I just finished making it tonight and it is DELICIOUS!!

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  • 53 Joan // Jun 17, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    Great recipe and it is really good! Thanks for sharing.

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  • 56 Lori // Jun 16, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    Oh girl, he was so wrong.  I think this is a fantastic idea.  With a pile of rhubarb sitting on my counter I am all over this idea.

  • 57 Gina Lutz // Jun 22, 2011 at 10:37 pm

    Thanks for this recipe it was everything I was looking for. I got the same reaction when I told my family I wanted to make rhubarb ice cream. They think I have gone off the deep end. Cant wait to try this recipe and prove them all wrong

  • 58 Suzanne // Jun 28, 2011 at 8:41 pm

    just ordered that ice cream machine!  A friend said he was going to make rhubarb ice cream, I ordered a machine, googled a recipe, came upon yours…and my rhubarb in the backyard is just waiting.  Thanks!!!  I like your blog!

  • 59 Pia // Aug 1, 2011 at 5:21 pm

    This recipe was one source of inspiration for rhubarb honey ice cream, which I recently made.
    Thank you!

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