GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. - Beth Dooley leads us into Mette Nielsen’s kitchen, where old-world Danish traditions meld with the freshest ideas and latest techniques.

Their approach combines the bright, bold flavors of Nordic cuisines while emphasizing the local, the practical, and the freshest ingredients to turn each season’s produce into a bounty of condiments.

Savory Sweet: Simple Preserves from a Northern Kitchen is available in bookstores and online.

Mint and chili sweet pickled rhubarb
Makes about 3 half-pints

3/4 pound rhubarb, cut diagonally into 3/4-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
3 sprigs mint
6 wide bands lime zest
1 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Wash the jars, lids, and bands in very hot soapy water, rinse them well, and place them upside down on a clean towel to drain.

Divide the rhubarb among the jars. Place 1 sprig of mint and 2 bands of lime zest in each jar.

In a small saucepan, bring the vinegar, sugar, salt, and crushed red pepper flakes to a simmer. Cook, stirring to dissolve the sugar, about 3 to 4 minutes.

Divide the liquid among the jars. Cover each jar with a square of wax paper slightly larger than the jar opening, fold in the corners with a clean spoon, and push down gently so some of the brine comes up over the wax paper. Wipe the rims with a clean wet cloth or paper towel, add the lids and bands, and finger tighten the bands.

Label the jars. Cool completely and tighten the bands before storing the jars in the refrigerator.

QUICK IDEAS: Finely dice the pickled rhubarb, and toss it into salsa. Serve it over grilled pork or salmon. It pairs nicely with soft cheeses and cured meat.