Fermented Rhubarb Relish

Fermented Rhubarb Relish

Rhubarb has a super-short season, and it’s usually at its peak in the early summertime. We like to extend the longevity of this versatile veggie by preserving it in a tasty, fermented relish. It’s perfect for adding a pop of color and tartness to all sorts of dishes, including braises and curries. Rhubarb also makes for a pretty appetizer served on crostini with goat cheese and prosciutto. If you’d like a smoother, less rustic texture, puree the relish to your desired consistency!

Equipment Needed:

  • Glass quart jar with lid or ceramic water crock with lid
  • Zip-top bag, quart size


  • 6-7 stalks rhubarb (about 1 lb)
  • 2 tsp mineral salt or sea salt, such as Redmond Real Salt or Celtic Fine Ground Sea Salt
  • 1/2 cup dried golden berries (also called Cape gooseberries) or golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme or rosemary leaves


  1. Rinse the rhubarb in cold water. Cut thick rhubarb stems lengthwise once or twice (twice if they’re very thick) then slice 1/4 inch thick crosswise.


  1. In a medium bowl, toss rhubarb with salt. Cover and let sit until liquid (a brine) appears, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the golden berries, cranberries, and thyme or rosemary, and stir to combine.


  1. Transfer the mixture to glass quart jar, pressing it down with your hand or a tamper to ensure everything is covered in the brine.
  2. Place the zip-top bag (aka a primary & secondary follower) inside your glass quart jar and press it down using your hand. Fill the zip-top bag with water to ensure the rhubarb mixture stays below the brine.
  3. Put the lid loosely on the jar—you should be able to twist it off with just your thumb and index finger with no effort. The loose lid allows air to escape, which is what you want.
  4. Store the jar out of direct sunlight and at a constant temperature between 55˚F and 80˚F. (A basement is great.)
  5. Let ferment for anywhere between 5 and 7 days. If any mold forms on the top of your brine, don’t worry; simply remove it with a spoon or with a paper towel if the mold adheres to the jar.
  6. Begin tasting your relish after the fifth day of fermenting. It should smell sour and taste slightly acidic and will become sourer with time. Once fermented to your taste, transfer it to smaller glass or plastic food-safe containers. It will keep, covered and refrigerated, for up to 2 months.