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VPR Cafe: New Ways To Enjoy Rhubarb

Candace Page
Burlington Free Press
Rhubarb salsa in a honey-lime dressing reveals the vegetable side of the perennial garden plant.

Rhubarb grows all over Vermont and can be incorporated nicely into a variety of dishes.
"I don't think there is a plant that is as easy to grow, as productive and as easy to harvest and store as rhubarb," said Candace Page, a contributor to the Savovore Section of the Burlington Free Press. "You put it in the ground, you feed it heavily, you pull the stalks when they're ready."

Page said that she recently found a few new ways to use rhubarb including making pickles, salsa and chutney.

You can learn more about rhubarb in Page's piece, "Who Knew? Savory Rhubarb Recipes."

Rhubarb Salsa

  • 1-2 stalks of rhubarb (1 to 1 ½ cups), diced
  • ¼ cup of sweet bell pepper, diced
  • 2 tablespoons of diced white or red onion
  • 2 tablespoons of diced scallions
  • 1 jalapeño, seeds removed and diced
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons of cilantro, diced
  • 1 tablespoon of lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons of honey
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • pepper to taste

Heat 2 cups of water in a saucepan to boiling. Blanch rhubarb by placing in the boiling water for 10 to 20 seconds. Quickly remove the rhubarb and place in a colander. Run cold water over the rhubarb to stop the cooking process. Blot the rhubarb with a paper towel to dry.

In a separate bowl, combine the bell pepper, onion, scallions, jalapeño, and cilantro. Add rhubarb and mix ingredients.

In a small separate bowl, dissolve the honey in the lime juice and apple cider vinegar. Drizzle this dressing over the rhubarb salsa and stir. Add the salt and pepper. Mix well.
Chill for at least 30 minutes.

 Pickled rhubarb*

  • 3 stalks rhubarb
  • 2 star anise
  • ½  teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Half cinnamon stick
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 5 whole peppercorns
  • 1 ½  cup white vinegar
  • ¾  cup sugar
  • ¼  teaspoon salt
  • Equipment:
  • One 32-ounce canning jar, with lid

Trim the rhubarb of its leaves and stocky ends. Slice rhubarb into 2-inch long strips and place in the canning jar. Add anise, pepper flakes, cinnamon stick, bay leaf, cloves, and peppercorns. Stir a few times.

Pour vinegar, sugar, and salt into a small pot and boil until clear. Pour hot sugar water over rhubarb and stir well. Screw the lid on the canning jar and place in the refrigerator. Let sit for 48 hours.

Use within a month. If you have leftover vinegar after using the pickled rhubarb, reserve it for vinaigrette, cocktails, or whatever else you think needs a tart, astringent sock in the eye.

*Recipe from Garrett McCord on the Fearless Fresh blog.

The VPR Café is made possible by Otter Creek Kitchenware in downtown Middlebury, offering over 70 lines of kitchenware, and by Kimball Brook Farm, organic milk and cream from Vermont grass-grazed cows.

Ric was a producer for Vermont Edition and host of the VPR Cafe.
Liam is Vermont Public’s public safety reporter, focusing on law enforcement, courts and the prison system.
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