Rhubarb Sorbet (Low Carb and Gluten Free)

It’s rhubarb season! You have no idea how excited this makes me. I am ridiculously in love with the taste of rhubarb. It is a lifelong love, stemming from my childhood on a farm in southern Ontario where we had a large patch of the leafy vegetable. My mother had several wonderful rhubarb recipes, and I was particularly fond of her rhubarb crisp. It was so tangy and so sweet all at once, with a rich brown sugar crumb topping. A bowl of warm crisp with a scoop of vanilla ice cream was pure heaven. As a little boy, my brother loved rhubarb so much he once attempted to eat some of it raw, an experience he never dared to repeat. He didn’t eat the leaves, which are quite toxic, but he did have a serious stomachache for a while. Raw rhubarb is not recommended!

Last year, I had a heck of a time finding fresh rhubarb. I scoured several grocery stores and farmstands and finally found a small collection of rather withered stalks. They didn’t look too fresh, but I bought some anyway, for fear of not finding anything better. A few days later, we were picking early strawberries at a local farm, and I found that their stand had some lovely, fresh rhubarb stalks. I have to confess, I went a little wild and bought about 4 pounds, hoarding the beloved vegetable against future rhubarb shortages. I made a few recipes but I also chopped up quite a bit and froze it. And boy, was I glad I did. What a treat to have some rhubarb to eat during our long, harsh winter.

I went out with a friend for dinner once and had a gorgeous dessert of rhubarb sorbet in champagne. I’d never thought of rhubarb as a candidate for sorbet, but it turns out that sorbet is actually a perfect vehicle for the tart rhubarb flavour. I got thinking about that dessert recently, and decided I needed to give it a go. What is rhubarb sorbet, after all, but frozen rhubarb sauce? And I certainly know how to make rhubarb sauce! Since my sorbet would be sugarless, I did rely on a trick I’ve read about a few times now, in the hopes of countering any iciness that might arise. This little “trick” is to add a few tablespoons of alcohol to the mix, since it helps keep liquids from freezing solid, an important quality in the absence of sugar. In this case, I chose vodka because it doesn’t have much flavour on it’s own. This is meant to be a family friendly treat, after all!

The Results: Rhubarb heaven! Really, if you like rhubarb, you will find this heavenly. The rhubarb flavour just seems to be intensified through the cooking and then the freezing. It’s actually a miracle that any made it to the freezing process, as the taste of the puree was so good, I wanted to eat the whole batch. And the texture was creamy and not at all icy, so it would seem that the vodka did the trick. The pictures make it look more melty than it actually was…I was working as quickly as I could to get decent photos but it’s not easy when working with ice cream or sorbet!

As with any non-commercial ice cream, it is best enjoyed when freshly made, as the leftovers did freeze very hard and had to be left out for a while before you could even dent the surface with a spoon. So if you are making this just for one or two people, make a half-batch. But whether you make this low carb or with sugar, just make it! It is pure rhubarb heaven.

I have learned through experience that the trick to successfully making ice cream at home is to thoroughly freeze the ice-cream canister and thoroughly chill the puree or custard before proceeding. Don’t skimp on these steps, as I have been known to do, or you will end up with a soupy mess that doesn’t churn properly. My Cuisinart ice cream canister needs to be frozen for a good 12 hours, so I often just keep it in the freezer.

Rhubarb Sorbet

4 cups sliced rhubarb
1 cup water
1/2 cup granulated erythritol
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp vodka (optional, but helps consistency)
12 drops stevia extract

Combine rhubarb, water, erythritol and lemon juice in a large saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and cook until rhubarb is very soft, about 10 minutes.

Transfer mixture to a blender or food processor, or use an immersion blender, and process until smooth. Refrigerate until completely chilled, at least 3 hours.

Stir in vodka and stevia. Transfer mixture to freezer bowl of ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturer’s directions until creamy and thick. Transfer to an airtight container and press plastic wrap to the surface. Freeze until firm to the touch but not hard, 1 to 2 hours. Serve immediately.

Serves 6. Each serving has 20g total carbs but only 4g when subtracting erythritol.

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Comments

  1. Hi there! As usual, your ideas are wonderful and so "eye appealing"…Can't wait to try this. I wondered though if I could substitute xylitol(sp?) – anyway that's what I have on hand…
    Thanks!

  2. Charlie @ SweetSaltySpicy says:

    This sorbet looks amazing! I love rhubarb. My grandmother used to have some in her garden and I'd eat tons when I was at her house!

  3. Carolyn says:

    Hi Diane – I think xylitol would be just fine. I've found that for the most part, I can use xylitol and erythritol pretty much interchangeably in a recipe. I just stick with erythritol because it's easier on my blood sugars.

  4. Annie's Dish says:

    I get way excited about rhubarb too! I called my Dad yesterday and he said the rhubarb is just starting to come in at his house. Never would have thought of making a sorbet with it. What a great idea, and I love the color!

  5. thecoffeebreak says:

    Never had rhubarb sorbet, I bet is absolutely delicious!

  6. There are worse things in life to hoard than rhubarb. If you're around Boston, Russo's in Watertown has them. Happy eating!

  7. RavieNomNoms says:

    Oh the color is just sensational!! I actually just bought my mother a few rhubarb plants for Mother's Day, so we are hoping to make some really good recipes later on in the summer.

    This sorbet seriously looks SO good!

  8. Pretend Chef says:

    The only rhubarb treat I've ever had was my Grandma's rhubarb pie with fresh rhubarb from my Grandpa's garden. This post brought back such fond memories. Sigh. I can't wait to get an ice cream maker. I would love to give this a try. Yummy!

  9. Pretend Chef says:

    The only rhubarb treat I've ever had was my Grandma's rhubarb pie with fresh rhubarb from my Grandpa's garden. This post brought back such fond memories. Sigh. I can't wait to get an ice cream maker. I would love to give this a try. Yummy!

  10. Well I was just twitting few days ago that I never tried Rhubarbs:))) How embarrassing from me :)) This looks amazing and really refreshing!
    Thanks for introducing it to me!!!
    Now I really have to try it! :/

  11. The Mom Chef says:

    I could have been the one writing that entire first paragraph (with exception to the Ontario thing) right up to the last couple of sentences. We LOVED eating raw rhubarb! We'd grab a stalk, rip of the greens, peel down the stringy parts and enjoy the pucker power it gives. It was awesome. I've been trying to find some that I can transplant to my yard so I'll have some growing.

    I love the look of the sorbet. It's beautiful.

    (My ice cream canister lives in the freezer as well. Ready at any moment!)

  12. Feast on the Cheap says:

    I have four stalks for rhubarb hanging out in my crisper right now! This looks fabulous

  13. spcookiequeen says:

    I don't know why I've been having a tough time finding some rhubarb around here. Now I have to look harder, I just love my new ice cream maker and I know I'd love your creation here. Looks so good.
    -Gina-

  14. I have to confess: I have NEVER had rhubarb! Gasp!
    This sorbet sure looks like a good way to try it. I am a huge fan of spiked sorbets, and I'm sure this one would be fantastic.

  15. Oh, my, this looks amazing! I just love rhubarb…but no one else will eat it in this family. I'd love to have a stash of this in my freezer…just.for.me. That top photo is wonderful~

  16. i have never actually tasted anything rhubarb. My grandfather loves the flavor, but i wouldnt even know what to expect!

    my friend has one of those cuisinart ice cream makers and this might be next in line!

  17. Food Glorious Food! says:

    So pretty! The best part is they are healthy! Thanks for the great idea!

  18. Lauren at Keep It Sweet says:

    Gorgeous sorbet! I haven't worked with rhubarb at all but I really need to while it is in season!

  19. Belinda @zomppa says:

    Oops – guess he never tried that again! This looks beautiful and refreshing.

  20. Maris (In Good Taste) says:

    Loks so pretty and so refreshing! Great job!

  21. Ming-Cheau says:

    It looks absolutely amazing! Coming from Taiwan, I love rhubarb and the pastes and spreads made from it. I'm very keen to try this out. What would you suggest for consistency if I choose not to use alcohol?

  22. Kate from Scratch says:

    Fantastic! I've never made anything with rhubarb before. I must try it soon. I'm sold. Thanks for sharing your recipe!

  23. sara @ CaffeIna says:

    I have to admit I have never had rhubarb before. Even less would I have thought of making a sorbet with it! This post was really inspiring!

  24. Torviewtoronto says:

    beautiful colourful sorbet
    rhubarbs are not in season here yet so many dishes I want try with it
    regards

  25. Parsley Sage says:

    Glad to see I'm not the only rhubarb virgin. It looks so intimidating in the grocery store! Intimidating and intriguing tho :) Perhaps there's a sorbet in my future…

    Thanks for sharing! (and for rocking the vodka in your sorbet)

  26. RLV @ bittensweetblog.com says:

    Yeah, I'm a bit embarrassed I haven't tired rhubarb yet either. But look at your sorbet! I love that color and it's spiked?! I need to try this soon. :)

  27. All That's Left Are The Crumbs says:

    I wasn't really a fan of rhubarb growing up but this looks so refreshing that I am going to have to revisit it soon.

  28. Cheers to rhubarb. I like this rather tart fruit but only when someone else makes it. This looks so good.

    Cheers.
    Velva

  29. Nami @ Just One Cookbook says:

    Hi Carolyn! Embarassingly, this is my very first year hearing about rhubarb – I don't think we have this vegetable (right?) in Japan…. I actually don't know what it looks like because everyone used it for cooking and I only see the outcome. It's time to google to see the picture and go check stores. Your sorbet looks delicious! I wonder how long this vegetable last as you mentioned it's seasonal…

  30. So pretty! And so tasty-sounding. I'm also pretty obsessed with rhubarb at the moment, and this is making me soooo sad I haven't gotten around to getting an ice cream maker yet…

  31. My step moms grandma used to make rhubarb everything. This sounds tasty and looks so refreshing!

  32. The Harried Cook says:

    I wish rhubarb was available here in India! I am seeing all these gorgeous rhubarb recipes and yours looks fantastic and very refreshing!!! Thanks for sharing :)

  33. megan @ whatmegansmaking says:

    This sounds very refreshing! And perfect for a spring or summer evening :)

  34. Magic of Spice says:

    This looks fantastic…I have only tried rhubarb a couple of times but I did enjoy :) Perfect treat for warm weather!

  35. Butrcreamblondi says:

    Rhubarb sorbet is awesome! I love the color and your first photo looks great!

  36. Thanks for the great tip for adding the vodka! As I first looked at the recipe I was surprised to see vodka listed but then read your post and learned something new!!

  37. Island Vittles says:

    I love the pretty colour! I'm going to make a "sugar" version of this tonight…thanks for the inspiration! theresa

  38. Spicie Foodie says:

    I made the mistake of taking a bite out of fresh rhubarb once. Man was I sorry! I haven't tried cooking with it, actually I just threw it out. I know so bad. You are convincing me to give it another try. Your sorbet looks so refreshing and good! Thanks for sharing.

    (I forgot to let you know I was recommending you for the FoodLover's interview. But I see you got the message:) Can't wait to read it.

  39. Boulder Locavore says:

    Love this! I really like the flavor of rhubarb with it's bite and have been convinced there is something besided pie that could feature it! I have some from a local farm and will definitely try this!

  40. Christine's Pantry says:

    This looks refreshing. Will have to try this. Thanks for sharing!

  41. Lisa @ Tarte du Jour says:

    I stopped by yesterday during the blogger crash so I couldn't comment… I had to come back to tell you how awesome this looks! So refreshing and best of all you use the rhubarb by itself without other fruit… usually it plays second fiddle to the strawberries etc. I'm delighted to see the rhubarb as the star!

  42. Katrina {In Katrina's Kitchen} says:

    This looks amazing! And you'll be happy to know I've been experimenting with erythritol :)

  43. Correen says:

    I have been on a fruit popsicle kick lately…go figure, it's usually chocolate chip ice cream…ha! Anywho this tasty rhubarb treat will fit right into my recent cravings ;)

  44. Elizabeth says:

    What a great looking rhubarb sorbet. The color is incredible.

  45. briarrose says:

    Beautiful color…and an awesome use of rhubarb…I wouldn't have thought to do ice cream with it.

  46. Anonymous says:

    y-u-m! just added rhubarb to my shopping list on cookmarked.com because of this! lol. :)

  47. Kate@Diethood says:

    Oh wow…I could so attack a few of those dessert glasses!! Delicious sorbet!!

  48. Happy When Not Hungry says:

    I love rhubarb, but have never seen rhubarb sorbet before! What a fantastic idea. I'm so happy it's in season, so will definitely be trying this recipe. Thanks :-)

  49. Ditto on the rhubarb love – I just made a rhubarb fool, it was heaven. Layers of tart rhubarb interspersed with cloudy layers of cream and yoghurt…

  50. Delishhh says:

    Rhubarb my favorite – i have save this recipe – going to make this next. Wonderful.

Trackbacks

  1. […] choice if you don’t want to taste the alcohol in your ice cream.  This trick is useful for sorbets as well, as anything with fruit tends to get very […]

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