Picking rhubarb? Yep, yep! if you're not in the know I'm about to tell you! When most people think of pickling, a big part of the appeal is that it's one of the easiest ways to preserve season produce or all the good stuff from the garden.
If you're interested in a rhubarb recipe that's equal parts sweet and sour, with a hit of tang, this is your dish! I love this recipe in the spring and summer when fresh produce is abundant. The rhubarb adds just enough acidity—and slight bitterness—to balance the sweetness of the sugar in this recipe.
This rhubarb recipe uses rose water to add some floral notes, which work well with the somewhat tart flavor of rhubarb.
Pickle them! You can use pickled rhubarb as a garnish for cocktails, mix it into salad dressing, or add it to a simple bowl of yogurt and granola. Pickled rhubarb isn't only delicious—it's also an easy way to elevate your dishes with something a little more unexpected.
Why this easy pickled rhubarb recipe works
Rhubarb is a unique vegetable in that it's treated as if it's a fruit. As a result, it has a distinctively tart flavor that makes it perfect for pickling. The addition of rosebuds to the brine allows you to infuse the entire stalk with a beautiful rosy scent and flavor, making this recipe ideal for serving as an appetizer or dessert.
Why make sweet rhubarb pickles?
Pickling rhubarb helps make it more versatile by giving it a unique, mellow taste. It can be used in recipes with other ingredients such as pork chops or can be eaten on its own. The resulting pickled rhubarb is delicately sweet, with just enough tartness to keep it interesting.
This recipe is all about letting the freshness of the rhubarb shine through.
This recipe can be easily scaled up, but this recipe is great for saving the ends of your rhubarb stalks or for when you have a small amount leftover from another recipe. Pink rhubarb will be best in this quick pickle.
White balsamic vinegar
I'm using white balsamic vinegar; it preserves all of the rhubarb's character while bringing out its sweet side and adding a vibrantly tart finish. Other great substitutes include rice vinegar, and champagne vinegar and you can even make an apple cider vinegar brine that would be great, if not a little cloudy.
Anise compliments the rhubarb and is a great flavor combo. In this picked rhubarb recipe, I use the smallest amount (1 section from whole star anise) in this recipe.
The rosebuds (from rose tea) add the slightest bit of floral flavor that compliments the sweetness of the brine and the tart rhubarb stalks. It only takes a small amount so use them sparingly!
When it comes to pickling, there are so many variables at play. Each vegetable has a different texture, flavor, and spice that you can incorporate into your recipe.
For instance, when it comes to rhubarb, people love the tartness of the fruit and the rose and star anise. When pickling rhubarb, you're also looking for a level of crunch that adds texture to your dish. Here's a recipe for how we make our rose pickled rhubarb:
To make this recipe, start with fresh rhubarb stalks—one cup will do—and chop them into ½-inch pieces.
Place your rhubarb slices in a large mason jar or another glass container with a tight-fitting lid.
Heat ½ cup of white balsamic vinegar and sugar to a boil and then pour over chopped rhubarb in a heat-proof container
Add 1 section of star anise pod and two rosebuds and sugar
Let cool on the counter for about an hour before transferring to the fridge overnight or for up to three days until ready to eat!
The leftover liquid can be used as a sweet-tart syrup over ice cream or as a basis for a vinegar shrub!
The pickled rhubarb can be eaten alone without any bread or other accompaniments,
The main reason is to preserve it for as long as possible. It's such a delicate plant that it only lasts a few days even when refrigerated. It'll spoil if left out of the fridge for more than an hour. When pickled, if the jar has been properly canned and sealed, it will last up to six months.
Pickling helps bring out the flavor of rhubarb, too. It can be pretty tart, and the vinegar-based brine softens the taste of the stalks and makes them easier to enjoy.
Rhubarb is high in fiber, which can help digestion, and contains valuable vitamins like A and C that support healthy vision and skin, respectively.
Store for up to 6 months in an airtight container in the refrigerator, or for up to 1 year if you use that amount of sugar called for in the variations section below.
Variations + Expert Tips
Store leftover pickled rhubarb in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Reheat it slowly in a small saucepan or microwave until warmed through,
If you'd like to change up the flavor of this recipe, feel free to swap out the roses for vanilla extract or lemongrass instead.
Use fresh rosemary from your garden or buy fresh herbs at your local farmer's market to make it even better.
The best part of rhubarb is the stalks. The leaves can be used to make tea and the flowers are edible but not as tasty.
Rhubarb is commonly preserved by blanching and freezing. The rhubarb can be eaten raw or cooked in many recipes, it also makes great jam!
No, you cannot eat the root end of rhubarb. The stem is safe to eat and looks very similar in appearance to celery but it has a stronger taste.
1 cup of rhubarb contains 2.5 stalks
- ½ a cup of rhubarb chopped (1-2 stalks)
- ¼ cup white balsamic vinegar
- ⅕th star anise
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ⅛th cup sugar
- 1-2 rose buds
- Start by washing your rhubarb stalks thoroughly. Cut them into ¼" slices.
- Place your rhubarb slices in a large mason jar or another glass container with a tight-fitting lid.
- In a saucepan, combine white balsamic vinegar, sugar and star anise, then bring it to a boil over medium heat (this should take about 3 minutes).
- Stir until the sugar is dissolved, then remove from heat and set aside for five minutes to cool slightly (about five minutes).
- Add the mixture from your saucepan to the mason jar of rhubarb slices and stir gently until combined.
This use of rhubarb and vinegar is meant to preserve the rhubarb. You can store the pickled rhubarb in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. The only thing you need to do is make sure you keep it in an airtight container.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 205Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 183mgCarbohydrates: 39gFiber: 0gSugar: 37gProtein: 0g