In the summer, my rhubarb patch is out of control. In fact, last summer I had to pull out one of my rhubarb plants because it had divided itself so much that it left no room for anything else in the bed. Even with just one plant now, I find it impossible to keep up with all the rhubarb in my garden.
Historically known as the “pie plant” (although classified as a vegetable), rhubarb is sweet and tart like a fruit. That means its culinary use is usually relegated to things like syrups, jams, pies, crumbles, and tarts, and I can only make so many of those before I want to swear off rhubarb forever. If you’re like me and crave a savory rhubarb recipe, this is one of my favorite ways to use the stalks.
These rhubarb pickles are sharp and sour, and the perfect accompaniment to a platter of cheese and charcuterie. Or, dice them up and spear them onto a toothpick to garnish a cocktail.
I happened to have a handful of dried chiles from last summer, so I tossed those into the pickles too — although you can adjust the heat to your liking, or omit them entirely. Maybe you want to add red pepper flakes instead. Whatever you do, serve these up with something rich and smoky for a totally different take on rhubarb!
Savory Rhubarb Pickles
Makes 4 pints
2 pounds rhubarb stalks
2 teaspoons black peppercorns
2 teaspoons yellow mustard seeds
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
1 teaspoon whole allspice
4 small whole dried chiles (of heat preference)
2 cups apple cider vinegar
2 cups water
2 tablespoons pickling salt
1/2 cup sugar
Thoroughly wash and dry your rhubarb stalks, then trim them down to fit your jars. I cut mine into 3-inch segments, though if your stalks are particularly thick, you can also slice them in half lengthwise.
Divide the peppercorns, mustard seeds, coriander seeds, allspice, and chiles evenly among hot, clean jars, then pack the rhubarb tightly into them.
In a small saucepan, bring the vinegar, water, salt, and sugar to a rolling boil, and stir until the salt and sugar are dissolved.
Pour the hot brine over the rhubarb, covering them completely and leaving at least 1/2-inch headspace. Run a chopstick (or the end of a long spoon) around the sides of the jars to release any trapped air bubbles.
Wipe the rims clean, seal with lids and bands, and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes (adjust the time for altitude as needed).
Let the rhubarb pickle for at least two to three days before digging in — and then enjoy! Properly canned and unopened jars are shelf-stable for up to a year.