Marinated Rhubarb with Lemon Verbena

Marinated Rhubarb with Lemon Verbena on Foodie Underground

Rhubarb. Glorious glorious rhubarb.

A month ago when I was at my parents’ house, I walked in the garden barefoot and picked a handful of rhubarb stalks, just like I did when I was a child. The plant was in a wild state, surrounded by buttercups and tall strands of grass. It felt nice to be home.

I was the child that would take a rhubarb leaf and put it on my head as a hat, certainly inspired by my Elsa Beskow books where everyone seemed to be wearing a fruit or flower as a hat. I wanted to be like that. The plants were my houses, the raised beds my neighbors, the dirt my home. It was a garden world in which I could invent an entire life.

Nowadays whenever I get my hands on rhubarb, I am immediately transported back to that time. I am barefoot. The sun is shining. I have no plans for the day except to enjoy summer.

It’s amazing how one food can be your connection to a certain time and place. The colors indicative of a specific moment. The taste instigating a memory.

Buying rhubarb isn’t just buying another ingredient, it’s stepping back in time to a happy place.

Marinated Rhubarb with Lemon Verbena on Foodie Underground

I’ll do anything with rhubarb. Make a compote. Make a crumble. Turn it into jam. But having seen a lot of recipes for pickled rhubarb, I wanted to make something that captured the essence of rhubarb, but added a little bite to it.

Another favorite warm-weather recipe of mine is marinated cucumbers, and I figured if marinated cucumbers are good, than vinegar marinated rhubarb must be good too. I was right.

I thought about adding mint in with the rhubarb, as those two flavors go perfectly together, and then I saw the lemon verbena plant sitting in the pot in the kitchen window. I had bought it at the market a few weeks ago, simply so that I could reach through the window, rub the leaves and have that wonderful smell whenever I wanted.

I wouldn’t call this recipe pickled rhubarb, since it’s not made to store, but the concept is similar. So “marinated” it is. And the lemon verbena adds just the right element of citrus to it, but I’m sure it would be good with mint as well.

What do you do with your marinated pieces of rhubarb? Eat them on their own. Throw them into a salad. Use as a condiment. Get real funky and put it on ice cream.

But whatever you do, bite in and imagine you’re standing barefoot in a garden, with no cares in the world.

Marinated Rhubarb with Lemon Verbena

Marinated Rhubarb with Lemon Verbena


1/2 cup (120 milliliters) water

2 tablespoons organic cane sugar

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 large stalk rhubarb

A few leaves of lemon verbena, finely chopped


In a glass jar (that you have the lid to!), combine the water, sugar and apple cider vinegar. Put the lid on and shake the ingredients until the sugar is completely dissolved.

Thinly slice your rhubarb slightly on the diagonal. Place in the jar. Add in the lemon verbena.

Let sit for at least an hour.

Store in the refrigerator. It will store up to a few days, but remember, the rhubarb is not actually pickled, so it’s meant to be consumed sooner rather than later.

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