Our ‘Victoria’ rhubarb, which was planted early last year, is really getting into its stride at the moment and we’ve been able to start picking it recently. We can only harvest lightly this year, as the plants are still establishing, but it’s lovely to be able to bring some into the kitchen at long last. I love the way the stems intensify in colour from green to a rosy blush, becoming almost neon pink at the base.
I’ve already made some stewed rhubarb to accompany Greek yoghurt and granola in the mornings, but I fancied trying something savoury for a change. Inspiration came in the form of a recipe for Eastern-spiced Rhubarb Relish from Salt Sugar Smoke, Diana Henry’s indispensable guide to preserving.
This jewel-coloured relish is a breeze to make and tastes utterly delectable; a gorgeous combination of punchy rhubarb, piquant vinegar and warm spices that would be fabulous served alongside pork (I have pork burgers in mind) or oily fish like mackerel.
Eastern-spiced Rhubarb Relish
Fills 1 x 500g (1lb 20z) jar
- 200ml (7fl oz) cider vinegar
- 300g (10½oz) granulated sugar
- 2 star anise
- 1 globe crystallised ginger in syrup, shredded
- 1 small red chilli, halved, deseeded and shredded
- 1 red onion, very finely sliced
- 350g (12oz) rhubarb, trimmed weight, sliced into chunks
- Put the vinegar and sugar in a pan and bring to the boil, stirring every so often to help the sugar dissolve. Add the spices, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the onion and cook, simmering and uncovered, for 10 minutes. The onion will soften and the mixture will become thicker.
- Now add the rhubarb and simmer gently for four minutes more, or until the rhubarb is just tender. Don’t overcook it, you want the rhubarb to remain pink and the shape of the pieces to stay intact; you are not making a chutney. Leave to cool. The mixture will thicken.
- Pot in sterilised jars, cover with wax paper discs, seal with vinegar-proof lids and refrigerate. You can eat this immediately, but it will keep for about three months (though it gets thicker).
This recipe is from Salt Sugar Smoke by Diana Henry and is reproduced with the kind permission of Octopus Books.