– Garrett took this pickled rhubarb photo with his phone. Zoinx! –
So, this it totally Garrett’s recipe, which I’ve pilfered so that we can do a joint recipe together (coming next week!). A major part of that dish is pickled rhubarb, and instead of combining two recipes into one mega-long recipe, I’m dividing them up for the sake of both sanity and organization.
When I first tasted this pickle, I reflexively made an awful, sour face that felt like someone was sucking my eyeballs into my brainstem. Garrett looked at me, concerned, and asked, “It’s not good?” After taking a few seconds to catch my breath, I squeaked out that no, I thought it was actually quite good. I just wasn’t prepared for it. I think I choked out the words “bracing” and “astringent” before diving in for a second piece.
I think Garrett put it best:
Pickled rhubarb is sweet, spicy, and simply put – bracing. It’s a pickle-lover’s pickle. A bit can likely cause the weak-willed to suck air in through their teeth after a bite and grip the table. But the flavor, the sweetness, the sour air, the tart slap, and with a spice with enough bite that it leaves marks like a bad (or good) kisser.
If you have leftover vinegar after using the pickled rhubarb, reserve it for vinaigrette, cocktails, or whatever else you think needs a tart, astringent sock in the eye. I think it would make an incredible dirty martini.
Also, there’s a weird thing about rhubarb. It’s amazingly satisfying to cut. The crack of the stalks as your knife slices through them, followed by the thump of the knife hitting the cutting board, makes me quiver with delight. So pull out whichever handy chef’s knife you’ve got (remember, I recommended you find a knife that fits you perfectly?) and get to work!
- 3 stalks rhubarb
- 2 star anise
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Half cinnamon stick
- 1 bay leaf
- 5 whole cloves
- 5 whole peppercorns
- 1 1/2 cup white vinegar
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- One 32-ounce canning jar, with lid
- Trim the rhubarb of its leaves and stocky ends. Slice rhubarb into 2-inch long strips and place in the canning jar. Add anise, pepper flakes, cinnamon stick, bay leaf, cloves, and peppercorns. Stir a few times.
- Pour vinegar, sugar, and salt into a small pot and boil until clear. Pour hot sugar water over rhubarb and stir well. Screw the lid on the canning jar and place in the refrigerator. Let sit for 48 hours.
- Use within a month. If you have leftover vinegar after using the pickled rhubarb, reserve it for vinaigrette, cocktails, or whatever else you think needs a tart, astringent sock in the eye.