Get in the pink with rhubarb pickles

Just when you think you’ve tried all the rhubarb recipes on the planet, then comes…

Rhubarb pickles

It’s a blast to play with new recipes. Oh, sure, you can find rhubarb pickle recipes on the web, but I found most of them to be impractical, with silly ingredients and silly instructions. My motto is to keep it simple, tasty, healthy and quick, which I tried to accomplish in my last recipe, First Rhubarb: My excuse to dream up a new recipe where I make rhubarb muffins, starting with a homemade, multi-purpose, whole wheat muffin mix.

Rhubarb pickles

There’s life beyond rhubarb pie. (Marion Owen photo)

Back to the pickles > We put up many quart jars of rhubarb pickles and serve them on our Galley Gourmet dinner cruises in Kodiak, Alaska. We top salads and bake fresh salmon stuffed with the sweet and sour chunks. Guests are pretty surprised at the idea of eating pickled “pie fruit.”

Either way you serve ’em, rhubarb pickles are not only rosy-pink beautiful, they’re inspiring, prodding you to try new things. Once you get your creative [pickled] juices flowing, you’ll discover all kinds of ways to add them to dishes. They’re a pickle lover’s pickle, and you can re-use the liquid, too.

Here’s the recipe. Please share, experiment, and let me know what you think. I bet they’d be great sliced thin and packed on a hamburger! (Any takers?)

Rhubarb Pickles

2 cups vinegar (cider or white)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons pickling spices
1 piece (1-1/2 inch) fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
Peel from 1 orange
3 cups fresh rhubarb, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces

In a non-aluminum medium saucepan, combine the vinegar, sugar, salt, pickling spices. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved, about 5 minutes. Slice orange peel into strips and add with ginger to the pan. Cool liquid cool to room temp. Spoon rhubarb into glass jar(s). Ladle in the cooled brine mixture. Cover and refrigerate pickles for one week before eating. They will keep refrigerated for several months.

How to eat a rhubarb pickle

Let the fun begin! You can add dices and slivers to coleslaws, fruit salads and tossed greens; soups, stews and tuna salad. Slice them up for sandwiches and decorate your favorite chicken and seafood dishes (pack a salmon with sliced pickles before baking or grilling). When all the pickled bits are gone, use the leftover vinegar for an awesome salad dressing base.

Thanks for stopping by. Enjoy!

Kodiak, Alaska garden

The Alaska Marine Highway’s ocean-going ferry, the Tustumena passes by our garden in early June–rhubarb harvest time.

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7 Responses to Get in the pink with rhubarb pickles

  1. Ren says:

    What a treat to see Kodiak in June….

  2. Velda says:

    We have been experimenting with lacto fermentation and I wonder if you could do rhubarb like that. Thanks for the recipe.

    • marionowen says:

      Sounds like a GREAT idea Velda. Give it a go and let me know how it works out. Good to hear from you. Cheers!

      • daryleone says:

        Lacto fermentation uses salt to ‘pickle’ vegetables. Nearly anything so treated was pretty much edible ‘as was’ before pickling.
        Adding salt to brine the food allows lacto-bacillus critters to make it sour … dill pickles for instance.
        So you want to make rhubarb more sour? One bite and your face will wrinkle up into a sour-puss that could require surgery to cure.
        – Daryle in VT

  3. daryleone says:

    Hi Marion,
    I might substitute honey for the sugar.
    You might want to invest in a bartender’s ‘twist’ cutter. It’s a hand tool with a flat, metal head, about the size of a nickel. In the middle of the head is a downward vee, which is sharpened. Just drag the blade over oranges, lemons, and limes and a perfect strip of skin is removed … which you twist and drop into your pickles … or Martini, as the case may be.

    • marionowen says:

      I think honey is a great idea. I’ve tried making preserves, jams and jellies with honey, with limited success. But a pickle, that’s cool. And I’m going to look for a twist cutter. Thanks for the suggestion!

  4. Perfect timing! I have some I just picked and was wondering what to do with them. I am going to try this today!

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