Rhubarb and Strawberry Preserves

comments (0) May 15th, 2012

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cookinwithherbs susan belsinger, contributor
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Favorite seasonal fruits combine to make a marriage of perfect flavor: just-picked local strawberries and homegrown rhubarb.
Choose firm rhubarb stalks; trim the rhubarb and remove any leaves (the leaves are toxic and should not be eaten).
Trim off any brown tips and excess strings.
Rinse strawberries just before using and put them on some paper towels to drain. I prefer not to refrigerate them unless I have to--it changes the texture. A grapefruit spoon is the perfect tool for hulling strawberries.
Slice the rhubarb crosswise about 1/2-inch thick.
Put the prepared rhubarb into a non-reactive pan and sprinkle lightly with sugar or drizzle with pure maple syrup.
Cover the pan and cook over medium heat until the rhubarb just becomes tender; dont let it get mushy and fall apart (this will only take about 5 to 7 minutes).
Remove the pan from heat and stir in the sliced strawberries, cover and let stand. The berries will cook just a bit from the heat of the rhubarb.
If you are fortunate to have sweet woodruff in your garden, add a few sprigs of this harbinger of spring to the pan. It has a delightful aroma  of new mown hay and vanilla and it is a perfect flavor combination with berries and rhubarb.
Spoon the warm or room temperature preserve over vanilla ice cream for a delightful dessert.
Favorite seasonal fruits combine to make a marriage of perfect flavor: just-picked local strawberries and homegrown rhubarb.Click To Enlarge

Favorite seasonal fruits combine to make a marriage of perfect flavor: just-picked local strawberries and homegrown rhubarb.

Photo: Susan Belsinger

Ingredients:
Makes about 1 quart

6 to 8 medium to large stalks of rhubarb, trimmed and sliced
About 3 to 4 tablespoons pure maple syrup or 1/4 cup organic cane sugar
1 quart fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
4 or 5 sweet woodruff sprigs, optional

Put the prepared rhubarb in a non-reactive pan and drizzle with the maple syrup or sprinkle with the sugar. If the berries are sweet, you might need less sweetener. This works well with the sugar, however I like the maple flavor quite a bit. 

Cover the pan and heat over medium heat; once the ingredients start to simmer, reduce the heat to medium low and stir.  The rhubarb will cook in about 5 to 7 minutes. It should be tender and still intact. If it overcooks it will become mushy and dissolve. Don't fret if this happens--it will still taste good--it will just not have a firm texture. Remove the pan from the heat.

Stir in the sliced strawberries and toss well; cover the pan. The berries will wilt and give off their juices. Add the woodruff if you are using it. Allow to cool a bit until warm and serve over vanilla ice cream, waffles, pancakes, pound cake or scones.

Or cool to room temperature and refrigerate. I remove it from the fridge about 20 to 30 minutes before serving so it is cool room temperature. I especially like it on cottage cheese or with yogurt. For a lovely libation, add about 1 tablespoon to a champagne glass and pour in some bubbly, give it a quick stir and cheers!


posted in: strawberries, rhubarb, rhubarb and strawberry preserves