I’m nowhere near done with cheese, but you have to put something on your cheese tray besides cheese, right? And I don’t want you all to miss out on your spring pickles! By the time I’m done with cheese, rhubarb and aspargus will be all gone until next year in Philly, so here you go: a simple, spring recipe.
If you regularly read this blog, you’ll know that I recommend pickles as an excellent fermentation starting point. Why? They are nearly foolproof if you know a few rules! The first and most important trick is picking the right vegetables. There are a few things I haven’t been able to get to work well, many others that work well with some tweaks, and a ton that work with very little effort. The second key is submersion. If your veggies are submerged under brine, that gives you the anaerobic conditions that are necessary for the LAB to thrive. The third rule is temperature, room temp works great! Get below 65ish degrees and we’re talking some serious sluggishness and potential that the bacteria never get kicking. Above 80 or so, things might start to ferment too quickly, or it may get too hot for your LAB to start their happy processes.
So here’s one that’s super easy and popping up at the farmer’s markets all over town at the moment: rhubarb! As always, with pickles, feel free to change out the seasonings for what you have on hand or what you prefer. I actually think these rhubarb pickles would be great with nothing but salt. The tangy, fruity notes of fresh rhubarb can stand alone!
I got these veggies at my local farmer’s market at Headhouse Square. It is operated by the renowned Food Trust, a local organization dedicated to eradicating food deserts and educating kids on their food choices. I’m pretty proud that they call Philly home and I’m grateful for the local bounty that they, and a couple other wonderful organizations to bring into the city.
yields about 1 quart of rhubarb pickles
fermentation time will be approximately 2 weeks
I usually make my single quart batches of pickles while I’m preparing another meal. I already have the cutting board out, so it really adds no time to dinner prep and the payoff is pretty huge!
- 5 relatively slender stalks (about 1 inch wide) of rhubarb, leaves removed, chopped into 1-inch pieces (the leaves are toxic, so seriously, don’t use them)
- 2 teaspoons mustard seeds
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 stem green garlic, chopped into 1-inch pieces (sub 2, whole garlic cloves if you can’t get green garlic)
- Room temperature brine (I make mine by stirring 1 T of salt into 2 c water until dissolved)
1. Place all ingredients except brine into a 1 quart jar making sure that your bay leaf stays whole. You may layer in your mustard seeds and bay leaf for visual effect, but I have not found that their position in the jar influences flavor
2. Pour brine into jar, ensuring that there is enough liquid in which to submerge your rhubarb
3. Use cheapo jar method or similar to submerge your veggies
4. Cover and let sit at room temperature for 2 weeks or until desired acidity is achieved
5. Enjoy while they last! These are the go-to jar for my husband at the moment