Fermented Rhubarb

Who says rhubarb often says compote (with strawberries hihi!) or cake, right?

There are few savory recipes featuring rhubarb, unfortunately. And yet, this is what I propose you today, a salty and lacto-fermented variant to keep your rhubarb for a few more months in your fridge. It sounds weird at first, but I swear you it's surprisingly yummy! Definitely the kind of condiment that, once placed on the table, will impress all your guests!

So quickly go to the market to get your rhubarb while it is still in season and make your first batch of fermented rhubarb!

Pssst: I have a cool salad recipe for you featuring some fermented rhubarb! Keep an eye open on the blog, I’ll try to share it soon!

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Fermented Rhubarb

Ingredients

  • about 1 lb. (450-500g) of fresh rhubarb *, leaves removed, washed, trimmed and sliced thinly

  • 1.5% of the weight of the rhubarb salt (about 1 1/2 teaspoon)

  • 1/4 cup whole dried cranberries

  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

  • 4-6 cloves of cardamom, the seeds removed and then ground with mortar

* Opt for the freshest picked rhubarb. The results of any fermentation, whatsoever it may be, will always be better with fresh ingredients.

Equipment

  • a large bowl and a clean tea towel.

  • a large clean glass jar (at least one liter or more), with a large mouth and a lid.

  • a small clean glass jar with a lid that can passes through the mouth of the large jar (once filled with water, it will be your weight to keep the rhubarb submerged.) (see one of the photos below as reference).

Sprinkle the rhubarb with salt and massage to make it sweat.

Sprinkle the rhubarb with salt and massage to make it sweat.

Steps

  1. In your large bowl, put rhubarb, cranberries, ginger and cardamom. Mix briefly and sprinkle with salt.

  2. "Massage" the rhubarb for 5-10 minutes in order to let it “sweat”. Salt will cause the water to come out of the rhubarb.

  3. Cover the bowl with the tea towel and let rest for 30 to 60 minutes. This will allow more water to come out of the rhubarb. This water will act as brine in the fermentation process.

  4. Transfer the content of the bowl (rhubarb and brine) into your wide-mouthed jar. Press down the rhubarb with your hands as much as possible, sover and submerge the rhubarb. In order to maintain the rhubarb submerged by the brine, place the smaller jar (previously filled with water) over the rhubarb. It will act as a weight.

  5. Close the pot and place in a well-ventilated place not in direct sunlight.

  6. Depending on the temperature, ferment up to 3 to 5 days, by opening the jar at least once a day to let the excess of CO2 (which occurs during the first days of fermentation) out of the jar. The hotter it is, the faster the fermentation will be; the colder it is, the slower it will be. I advise you to start tasting the rhubarb after 3 days (or less if it's really hot), or as soon as the rhubarb has become a vibrant pink / red color. The rhubabr will keep some texture while becoming more tender. At this point, it's up to you to stop the fermentation process according to your own preferences, either at 4, 5 or 6 days. By fermenting, the rhubarb will become more tart and very fragrant.

  7. Remove the smaller jar (filled with water) and transfer the bigger jar (with the rhubarb) in the fridge. As long as the rhubarb remains more or less in its liquid, it will be good for several months in the fridge.

The smaller jar, filled with water, acts like a weight to keep the rhubarb submerged in its own brine.

The smaller jar, filled with water, acts like a weight to keep the rhubarb submerged in its own brine.

You can use fermented rhubarb as a condiment to your bowls and sandwiches, add it to your salads or even on toasts over some cream cheeze. But please do not discard the liquid from this fermentation : add it to your dressing and sauces for extra flavor! And on my list of experiments with this rhubarb, I want to use it to make a drink! To be continued!


And you, what would you do with it? Leave me a comment with your suggestions!