No matter how you prepare rhubarb it will need sweetening, but that is to its advantage in making jam, jelly, conserve, and chutney. The results are never cloying. Rhubarb's indefinable flavor and tartness triumph over and enhance the fruits and berries with which it is often combined.
A simple breakfast becomes a treat when toast, English muffin, popover, scone, or croissant are accompanied by rhubarb jelly, jam, or marmalade.
Spiced Rhubarb Sauce and Rhubarb and Lemon Conserve or Five-Spice Rhubarb Jam are delicious with meat dishes, especially ham, roast pork, and roast chicken.
Serve Rhubarb Chutney with curried dishes or mix with cream cheese for a delicious sandwich spread. Rhubarb and Lemon Conserve 2 1/2 to 3 pounds diced, fresh rhubarb 5 1/2 cups sugar 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice 4 cinnamon sticks, each 2 inches long 1 cup seedless raisins 1 cup chopped pecans 2 tablespoons grated lemon rind
Place first four ingredients in a 4-quart saucepan. Mix well. Cook uncovered over medium heat 1 hour or until mixture has thickened, stirring frequently to prevent scorching. Skim off scum. Stir in remaining ingredients and heat thoroughly. Remove and discard cinnamon. Ladle into hot, sterilized jars. Seal airtight immediately. Makes 6 1/2 pint jars. Shaker Village Rhubarb Chutney 2 quarts diced fresh rhubarb 1 1/2 quarts diced onion 2 cups seedless raisins 7 cups white sugar 1 quart cider vinegar 1 tablespoon salt 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 1 teaspoon ground cloves 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
Combine all ingredients in large heavy kettle and cook gently 45 minutes or until fairly thick, stirring often. Let stand 1 hour. Return to heat and barely simmer 4 hours (this is the secret.) Mixture must be thick and dark. Makes 2 pints. Five-Spice Rhubarb-Ginger Jam 1 to 1 1/2 pounds rhubarb, finely chopped 3 cups sugar 1 to 2 teaspoons Chinese 5-spice powder 1/4 cup finely chopped candied ginger Dash hot red pepper sauce 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Combine all ingredients and blend well. Place over low heat, stirring constantly until sugar liquefies. Bring to a boil, skimming off foam, and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until mixture becomes transparent and thickens, about 15 to 20 minutes. Ladle into hot sterilized jars and seal. Makes about 4 6-ounce jars. Spiced Rhubarb Sauce 6 cups rhubarb 5 cups sugar 3/4 teaspoon cloves 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon 3/4 cup cider vinegar
Cut rhubarb in 1-inch pieces. Mix with other ingredients and boil until thick. Put in hot sterilized jars and seal. Rhubarb and Pineapple Marmalade 5 cups diced fresh rhubarb 1 cup crushed pineapple, drained 4 cups sugar 1 3-ounce package strawberry or orange gelatin
Mix rhubarb, pineapple, and sugar and let stand 30 minutes. Slowly bring to a boil and simmer 12 minutes. Remove from heat and add gelatin. Stir until dissolved. Pour into sterilized glasses and seal with paraffin.