Rhubarb and Ginger Pickles


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


Appears in

Spirit & Spice

By Ghillie Basan

Published 2019

  • About

I needed to use up my rhubarb as well as the baskets of it that friends kept bringing when they popped over, but I didn’t feel like making chutney or jam, so I decided to create a pickle that would complement a number of whiskies. The pickles ended up being very versatile and they complement gin, wine and sake too. The rhubarb stalks retain their pretty pinks and greens and soften a little in the pickling liquid but they are delightfully fruity and chewy, the nippiness of the ginger mellows, and even the pickled cardamom pods are fun to chew on. I often serve these pickles with smoked salmon or gravlax but they go well with cheeses and add a bite of texture with the velvety venison salami from Great Glen Charcuterie.


  • roughly 12 fresh rhubarb stalks, rinsed and trimmed
  • 2–3 fat fingers of ginger, peeled
  • 600 ml/1 pint white wine vinegar
  • 500 g/1 lb 2 oz granulated sugar


Cut the rhubarb stalks into thin 5cm batons (you can vary length and width, but because of the stringy nature of the stalk, it is easier to keep them thin and short). Finely slice the ginger into flat, wide pieces.

Heat the vinegar with the sugar and cardamom pods until boiling point, stirring all the time. Turn off the heat and put in the sliced ginger. Leave the liquid to cool for five minutes and then add the rhubarb, making sure it is submerged in the pickling liquid. If you add the rhubarb too early, it will begin to soften in the hot liquid. Cover and leave to cool completely.

Pop the rhubarb, ginger and cardamom pods into a sterilised jar and pour in the pickling liquid. Store in the fridge for two weeks before eating. The pickles will keep for months.