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Tuesday, May 7, 2019

A Variation of Rhubarb Sauce That is Delicious, Uses Less Sugar, and Takes Advantage of Our Surplus Rhubarb

This is baked egg custard topped with blueberry-rhubarb sauce

In the comments the other day, Allie was asking about a recipe for blueberry-rhubarb sauce. Here is how I make rhubarb sauce that gets devoured in my house.

My rhubarb sauce follows 4 points to reduce the sugar, the tartness, and the intensity.
  • I mix with berries, about 1 part berries (frozen or fresh) to 3 parts chopped rhubarb. Blueberries are our favorite, but blackberries and strawberries are also yummy in rhubarb sauce. When I see blueberries at Dollar Tree in the freezer section (10-oz bag for $1), I scoop up several bags and hoard them at home until I find something special in which to use them. I was inspired to try blueberries in rhubarb sauce after a comment in my early blogging days.
  • I reduce the amount of added sugar by stirring a bit of baking soda into the sauce. When the fruit has cooked to a mush, I stir in about 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda. The reaction causes a gray foam to bubble up. This is stirred down quickly and the gray color disappears. After the baking soda, I then add the sugar to sweeten, using taste as my best judge. Every 1/4 teaspoon of baking sugar has the ability to lessen the need for sugar by about 1/3 cup. When I'm really conserving on sugar, I add even more baking soda, a pinch at a time, again using taste as my guide. I wrote more about using baking soda to reduce tartness in baking and cooking in this post.
  • I thin the intensity of the rhubarb with a slurry of cornstarch in water, which is stirred in after sweetening the sauce. About 2 tablespoons of corn starch stirred into 1/2 to 2/3 cup of water, then added to the rhubarb sauce and cooked until thickened will do the trick.
  • Finally, at the very end, I add about 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract (imitation works fine). The vanilla has a warming effect on the flavor of the rhubarb. Vanilla is a delicious counterpoint to sweet and tangy rhubarb concoctions. I love it in rhubarb jam, too.


  1. You know I love rhubarb! I must have missed your previous post about using baking soda to reduce tartness. That's brilliant! Looking forward to trying it.

    1. Oh, hmm, I just reread your previous post and from my comments, I tried doing this. Why don't I remember it???? Of all the things that I have lost, I miss my mind the most ....

    2. I thought I hadn't heard of the baking soda trick either, but I commented on the original post, so I must have read about it, too. But that was almost five years ago and a lot has happened since then. My brain only has so much space. I think at this point it's pretty full and when something new comes in, something else falls out.

    3. Hi Kris,
      You're too funny. There's simply too much for us to remember in this life. Better to remember the truly important things than the trivial. You're doing okay in my book.

    4. You're right, live and learn. There's just too much information in this life to track.

  2. THANK YOU!! Rhubarb lover here too. Can't wait to make tons of delicious sauce. I totally spaced out on your baking soda method! Genius.

    1. You're welcome, Allie. Enjoy the rhubarb sauce!


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