Spring is here and so is rhubarb. Pickled Rhubarb is my new favourite rhubarb creation. Rhubarb is a wonderful ingredient for sweet baked goods, like these Strawberry Rhubarb Muffins, or Rhubarb Blueberry Oatmeal Bars. It also makes a lovely jam, as I shared with this Two-Ingredient Rhubarb Jam Recipe. I've even made a cocktail with rhubarb: Rhubarb Gin & Tonic Cocktail.
Time For a Savory Rhubarb Recipe
This time, I'm trying something a little different with rhubarb. Something that doesn't involve strawberries. Pickled rhubarb, although it does have sugar in the pickling brine, is meant to be served & eaten in a savoury way.
What To Do With Pickled Rhubarb?
Believe it or not, these pickles are very versatile. They are still deliciously tart and are spiced with ginger, cardamom, mustard seed, cloves, cinnamon and bay. You can use your rhubarb pickles on sandwiches (try a sharp cheese and peppery ham). Or top burgers, hot dogs and tacos.
We are using these pickles on charcuterie or cheese boards for entertaining. Think of a cracker spread with creamy cheese and topped with tart- spicy pickles. Add some to salads, and serve with grilled vegetables, chicken, fish, or meat.
And, as with all home preserves, they make great gifts, either for the hosts of the next barbecue, or saved for the winter holidays. It's a treat to have this delicious taste of spring when it's cold and gloomy.
Quick Pickling vs Canning
For this recipe, the rhubarb is covered in pickling brine and processed in a hot water bath. You can store vegetables preserved this way in the pantry for up to a year. This is the best way to pickle if you have a lot of rhubarb, and want a lot of jars to give as gifts or have on hand.
However, the quick pickling method works well for smaller batches. For this method, first, you pour hot pickling brine over the rhubarb packed jars. Secondly, lids are applied, and the jars are placed in the fridge where they can be kept for up to a month. Learn more about the different pickling methods: The Science of Vinegar Pickling, Explained
This is Not a Crisp Pickle
If you are looking for a crisp rhubarb pickle recipe, this is not the one. Instead, this recipe is more like a delicious pickled compote. Which is why it works so well as a topping and on a cheeseboard. So you have been warned if you don't want your rhubarb pickles to be soft.
Don't Throw Away the Brine
Finally, pickle juice is a versatile and useful thing. Some ways to use your brine: Use it in a vinaigrette in place of vinegar or lemon. It adds a delicious tart brightness to any salad. Try some in a cocktail. Pickle juice is perfect in a Bloody Mary or a Caesar Cocktail. Have you ever tried a pickle juice martini? You can use pickle juice to re-pickle things, too. This rhubarb pickle juice would be perfect for pickling eggs. Use your brine in soups, marinades, too.
Pickled Rhubarb Recipe
- 2 cups white vinegar
- 1.5 cups sugar
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 5 bay leaves
- 2 tbsp mustard seeds
- 1 tbsp coriander seeds
- 1 tbsp whole black peppers
- 1 tbsp fennel seeds
- 2 tsp cardamom seeds
- 1 tsp allspice
- 1 tsp hot pepper flakes
- 1 tsp whole cloves
- 1 lb rhubarb about 6 stalks, sliced diagonally
- 1 2-inch piece fresh ginger peeled
- In a medium saucepan stir together all ingredients except rhubarb
- Bring to a boil and boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved
- Reduce heat and simmer 5 more minutes
- Strain and discard solids
- Pack rhubarb into 4 250 ml jars (half pint) Pour the hot liquid into the jars to ½ below rims.
- Center lids on jars and screw on rings until finger-tip tight
- Process in a boiling water bath 10 minutes.
- Allow to cool, then label and store unopened jars in a cool dark place