This is a summer favorite with my family. We love it for picnics and barbecues. My plants produce enough stalks to make one jar of pickles and one strawberry rhubarb crumble. My rhubarb does not turn red so I have to be mindful and harvest it the first week of June, before it flowers. The level of oxalic acid builds as the season goes on. This chemical can be hard on the kidneys and can be toxic in large amounts.
Ginger Rhubarb Pickles
Coarsely chop ( 1/2 inch pieces) the freshly picked rhubarb stalks/stems (no leaves) until you have 2 cups. Set aside
Peel and finely chop fresh ginger root. You will need 1 TBSP.
1 tsp of dried red chilies (coarsely ground not the powder)
1 cup of seasoned rice wine vinegar just boiled and removed from the heat. Mix in 1 TBSP of honey or sugar.
Loosely fill a canning jar with an alternate mix of rhubarb, chili, and ginger.
Pour in the vinegar. Top with more vinegar if you jar is not full to the brim. Let cool. Seal the jar and let sit out for 24 hours. Refrigerate. Will store in the refrigerator for several months.
Rhubarb is in the buckwheat family. It has an ancient history of being used as medicine. Rhubarb is good at clearing heat, infection, and inflammation from the body. It has more vitamins and minerals that kale. The stalks are used all over the world as a perennial vegetable. The root has laxative and purgative qualities. It is thought to help the digestive tract to metabolize fats and flush out wastes. Each species contain different chemical constituents. Some are more powerful that others. Rheum officinale (Chinese Rhubarb) is the one most commonly used for healing. Its root is has been used to treat blood clots, constipation, diarrhea, fever, hemorrhoids, lack of menstruation, worms, high cholesterol, jaundice and worms. Externally it can be as a poultice to boils, burns, sores, and wounds. Adding in fennel, ginger, or peppermint prevents stomach cramping. The stalk of garden rhubarb is fine to use as food for those without kidney issues. Because this plant varies with species and has so many contraindications it should not be used for healing unless it is being given under the supervision of a trained professional.
Do you have a favorite rhubarb recipe?