Spicy Rhubarb, Date & Ginger Pickle

When I was younger, in the Autumn, my Dad would start a pickling frenzy…..making pickled onions, red cabbage and some kind of chutney to go with cooked ham over Christmas. The house would have a sweet vinegar smell wafting from the kitchen!

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Then everything would get tucked away in a dark cupboard to mature. I still love making and eating pickles. You just can’t beat homemade. They make great gifts for friends. I squirrel away my used jam jars all year and by October I have a nice big bag of them in the garage, ready to be stuffed with all sorts of homemade goodies.

This recipe came about after a successful crop of rhubarb I planted in my garden. My grandfather used to grow it in abundance and after two attempts at growing the stuff, I had a well established plant with enough to harvest.

I also love the flavour of ginger and spicy food so I have added plenty of fresh and dried ginger to this recipe, some mustard seeds and a hint of chilli to give it some kick. It’s best made ahead of when you want to eat it then stored in a dark cool cupboard for at least 6 to 8 weeks to allow all the flavours to mature. So get pickling and you will have a nice stash ready for Christmas!

This pickle tastes great with cold meats, in a sandwich or just with cheese, biscuits and a nice glass of red wine. I also add it to my homemade curries to give extra flavour.

Here’s my recipe but before you start just a tip about sterilizing jam jars. I sterilize mine in the dishwasher then pop in a hot oven to ensure they are hot and completely dry before filling.

The other method is to wash well in your sink, rinse, then put an inch of water in each jam jar. Put a few jars at a time with the water inside, into the microwave and zap for a few minutes until the water is boiling. Then carefully pour out the water and dry completely in a hot oven. Also, use oven gloves to handle your jars as they will be hot! It’s best to fill the jars hot straight from the oven.


2lb (900g) of chopped rhubarb

1lb (450g) of chopped onions

1 lb (450g) of granulated sugar

4oz (115g) of chopped dried dates

3oz (55g) of sultanas

Half a pint (300ml) each of malt vinegar and water

1 tablespoon of salt

1 tablespoon of dried ginger

2 teaspoons of yellow mustard seeds

Half a teaspoon of chilli powder

A 2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped

Half a teaspoonful of mixed spice


Put everything into a large saucepan and bring to the boil while stirring.

Turn the heat down and simmer for at least  30 min until the consistency looks thick and jammy, with regular stirring to avoid it burning on the base of your pan. There should be no excess liquid in the finished product.

Pour the hot pickle into sterilized jars and cover with vinegar proof lids or cellophane jam pot covers. Store in a cool dark place to mature for 6 to 8 weeks.

Once opened,  I keep in the fridge.



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