This past summer, a friend brought me over a bag of rhubarb. I made a couple of batches of rhubarb simple syrup but I still had a few cups of chopped rhubarb left and wasn't sure what to do with it. I really didn't want to bake with it because we had just polished off the rhubarb pie ice cream and the last thing I needed was more dessert lying around the house.
Why couldn't they be pickled?
After a quick google, I realized that this was, by no means, an original idea so I guess I should stop patting myself on the back any time now. The idea was new to me so I was still excited.
I spent the morning reading recipes and so many of them sounded so great. There was a really cool Indian pickle that I would like to try another time but most of the recipes were, more or less, the same. The spices varied but it was pretty much half water, half vinegar, with quite a bit of sugar and then spices. The only thing I would do differently next time would be to slice the rhubarb into longer matchsticks so that they would be the height of the jar and we could use them as stir sticks for cocktails but the rhubarb came to me pre chopped and I was not looking a gift rhubarb in the mouth. Because I was afraid to make them too hot, I held back on the chili flake but next time I will probably even double the amount so if you want to try them and you like your pickles with more bite, feel free to add more and report back.
So far we have just been eating them out of the jar like any other pickle. I had some with a bit of cheese and bread and I chopped some up finely today and put it in our tuna salad and it was great. It added a nice, tart, crunchy bite to the tuna. I think it would be great in egg salad too but we haven't tried that yet. I don't see why you could use it in anything you would normally use pickles in to be honest, even if you think you don't like rhubarb.
Okay, maybe if you don't like rhubarb you might not like them. I took them over to let The Neighbour try them and she took a little piece out, popped it in her mouth, chewed a couple of times and then her eyes bugged out and she made a little squeak and politely declined my offer of a small jar of them.
You can't please everyone.
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbls kosher sugar
approx 10 black peppercorns
1 tsp chili flakes
1 cinnamon stick
1 tbls black mustard seeds
enough chopped rhubarb to fill a large jar
Put everything but the rhubarb in a non reactive pot and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, pour boiling water into the clean jar to sterilize it. Pour the water out and fill the jar with chopped rhubarb. After the pickling juice comes to a boil, taste it. Now is the time to adjust the sugar, the chili flake and the salt. When it's the way you want it, pour the boiling liquid into the jar over the rhubarb until the liquid reaches the top of the jar and all of the rhubarb is covered. Put the lid on the jar and give it a good shake. Set it aside until it comes to room temp before you put it in the fridge. Let it sit in the fridge for at least a few days before you try it out and once opened it should last for a few weeks. I keep reading different recipes and they say anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months. I say, eat it up within a couple of weeks to be safe and because it's so tasty that you should eat it up because you can.