Honey is a wonderful preservative. When you add it to a fruit with a relatively high water content, the liquid from the fruit will dilute the honey just enough to kick-start fermentation. Left to ferment for a week or two, you end up with a gorgeous sweet, slightly tangy fruity honey which you can use like a pickle or a loose jam of sorts.
You can eat the rhubarb on it’s own, spooning it from the honey and then using the honey separately. Or try putting the rhubarb with some of the honey in a food processor to blend into a jammy compote.
It’s so versatile. I love it paired with freshly grilled mackerel or tossed with roasted beetroot and fresh herbs as a salad. It’s also lovely on pancakes or drizzled over vanilla ice cream.
Makes 1 x 340g jar
- 150g fresh rhubarb
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme*
- 150g raw honey (or enough to fully cover the fruit)
Cut your rhubarb into slices or batons. The smaller you chop it the softer it will get how you cut it really depends on how you plan to use it. You can serve it up as a sweet and sour pickle, or cut it quite fine and use it more like a jam or a glaze for roasted veg (lovely with roasted beetroot), meat (gorgeous with lamb) or fish (a perfect pairing for mackerel).
Once your fruit it chopped, pack it into a clean jam jar. Tuck in your fresh sprigs of thyme. Then, pour in enough honey to fully cover the rhubarb. It may take a while for the honey to make its way down to the bottom of the jar, so add some, wait for it to settle, then add some more. Cover the jar tightly and give it a few turns to coat all of the rhubarb in the honey.
Loosen the lid and put the jar in a dark corner somewhere. Set it on a plate in case there is any honey overflow as it ferments, which is likely. Every few days tighten the lid and give the jar a few turns, then re-loosen the lid and return to the plate. Soon you will start to see bubbles forming.
The honey will turn a lovely pinky colour and become thinner as time goes on. The rhubarb will start to lose some of their tartness and will soften. Ferment for 1-2 weeks, depending on how tangy you want it to taste. Pop it in the refrigerator once you’re happy with the flavour and this will slow the fermentation right down. It will keep in the fridge for months but is best used within a month.
*You can swap the thyme out for slices of fresh ginger, rose petals or spices like bruised cardamom pods.