Rhubarb, while definitely an underrated vegetable (yes, it’s a vegetable), has so much potential! It can be baked into a Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp or transformed into gorgeous ribbons to top a rhubarb cake. It can add crunch to a salad or be cooked down into a soft compote or jam. And it can even be pickled!
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What Does Pickled Rhubarb Taste Like?
Pickled rhubarb is sweet and tangy—and it has a sprightly crunch. Rhubarb is often cooked with sugar to tame its bite, so it can be used in desserts. Here, the combination of sugar and red wine vinegar in the pickling brine relieves rhubarb of its overly tart, astringent flavor while keeping it out of dessert territory.
But Wait, Isn’t Rhubarb Poisonous?
Only the leaves are toxic. Be sure to trim them away and use just the stalks.
How to Make Pickled Rhubarb
Pickling rhubarb is easy. Just slice the rhubarb stalks thin (it’s fine to use red or green rhubarb—color doesn’t indicate ripeness or affect the taste—but red will have more visual appeal here); place the sliced rhubarb and some lemon zest in a glass jar; make a quick hot brine of sugar, water, vinegar, and salt; and pour the brine over the rhubarb. Let the mixture cool, seal the jar, and refrigerate it. After 24 hours, the rhubarb pickles will be ready to eat. And, bonus, they’ll keep for two weeks.
Quick Sweet Pickled Rhubarb
Serves 8 (Makes 1 pint)
Eight ounces of rhubarb is two to three stalks. Choose stalks that are ¾ to 1 inch thick. Depending on the style of your jar, you may have extra brine. The important thing is to make sure that the rhubarb is fully submerged.
- 8 ounces rhubarb, trimmed and sliced on bias ⅛ inch thick (about 2 cups)
- 1 (3-inch) strip lemon zest
- ⅔ cup sugar
- ½ cup water
- ½ cup red wine vinegar
- ½ teaspoon table salt
- Combine rhubarb and lemon zest in 1-pint glass jar with tight-fitting lid.
- Combine sugar, water, vinegar, and salt in small saucepan and bring to boil over medium-high heat.
- Pour brine into jar, making sure all rhubarb is submerged. Let cool completely, about 2 hours.
- Affix jar lid and refrigerate for at least 24 hours before serving. (Pickles can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.)
What to Do with Pickled Rhubarb
The tangy, sweet-sour notes and crunch of pickled rhubarb make it perfect for topping a grain bowl or salad. It can also be chopped up and spread on a sandwich like relish. But best of all, it’s perfect for dressing up a cheese plate.
Move over, jam. With its ruby hue, pickled rhubarb is just the thing to add a little pop of color to your next cheese plate. Pair it with your favorite Brie, Manchego, or goat cheese, or try it with a blue for a punch of flavor. As soon as you take a bite, you’ll wonder why you’d never thought to put pickled rhubarb and cheese together before. It’s a crisp, creamy, sweet, and tangy sensation!