I've just recently come to embrace rhubarb-- I always thought it was too one-note-sour when raw, and too slimy when cooked. But this pickle is a perfect compromise: pleasantly tart, flavorful and complex, and barely cooked by the pickling liquid so it's crisp but not so fibrous. And it's just so... springy.
I love to slice these thin and add to salads, a pulled pork sandwich, fish tacos, even pair with a nice ripe goat cheese on crostini. Slice the stalk lengthwise to garnish a cocktail or finely dice and add to chermoula (my new favorite condiment!).
I like to keep the stalks long (instead of chop them) so I have more flexibility about using them. Late in the summer, you can swap out slightly-underripe peaches or apricots.
makes one pound of pickles
1 pound rhubarb stalks (4 to 6 large stalks)
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
1 cup water
a few dashes Angostura bitters
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 inch knob of ginger, sliced
2 teaspoons szechuan peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon pink peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
2 star anise
Thoroughly clean two wide mouth pint jars and lids.
Wash rhubarb stalks well and trim to fit into the jars. If the stalks are fat, slice them in half lengthwise.
In a small saucepan, combine the apple cider vinegar, rice wine vinegar water, sugar salt, ginger two peppercorns, mustard seeds, cloves and star anise, and bring to a boil. Pack the rhubarb pieces into the jars.
Once the pickling liquid has boiled and the sugar and salt are dissolved, pour it, along with all the spices, into the jars over the rhubarb.
Wipe jar rims, apply lids and rings and process jars in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. When time is up, remove jars from water and set them to cool.
Test the seals on your jars: push on the lid. If either move up and down at all, store them in the refrigerator and eat within two weeks. Properly sealed jars can be stored in the pantry for up to 1 year.
Let this pickle cure for at least 48 hours before eating.