|Rhubarb and garlic pickle|
So what to do with this sour vegetable?
There are many recipes floating about for savory treatment of rhubarb. My favorite is to simply chop it small and add it to a stir fry. Usually it cooks down to a mush and adds a sour tang that complements soy sauce. I add it to stews too: it adds a nice note to the broth.
I have made a delicious lacto-fermented rhubarb and garlic pickle. Simply chop up rhubarb (peel it if stringy) and garlic, cover with water, add salt (1 tablespoon to 1 L of water), and let ferment on your countertop for about a week, or until it tastes good. The first time I made this, I ate the whole jar!
I'm experimenting with two other new-to-me recipes: pickling in vinegar, and wine making.
I started a few jars of rhubarb with garlic and various spices in vinegar. I won't open them until winter, I think. If they're truly dreadful, at least they were pretty cheap to make--I only bought the vinegar.
I have also begun a batch of rhubarb wine, made from my mother-in-law's rhubarb. I've never had it before, and it'll probably be a six months to a year before I actually get to taste it...but I got the recipe from John Seymour's The Complete Book of Self Sufficiency. He has a very enthusiastic section on homebrewing, and I hope to try a few more of his suggestions. Here's hoping the wine lives up to its recommendation--I've read elsewhere that it's horrible, so...
|Pink rhubarb wine, bubbling away (elderflower in background)|
One confession though: after straining off the boiled rhubarb for my wine, I plunked the mush--this was before adding yeast--into some strawberry jam I was making for teacher gifts. So I did make a sweet rhubarb-y treat after all. Boy was it tasty!
|Strawberry rhubarb jam|