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DIY Group Project: Rhubarb Preserves

March 29, 2011 • 133 Comments

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rhubarb

We love when you guys get together in the real world. The first food52 potlucks sprung up organically and we were happy to just sit back and report on the results (not to mention a Canorama, a pool party, a cookie swap, and the collaborative contesting of food52 supergroup Ginger's Kitchen). But now we want to see what happens when we give you a little nudge.

We'd like you to get together in your various corners of the globe and preserve some rhubarb, in any manner you see fit: jams and marmalades, pickles and compotes. And of course you'll probably want to potluck it up, for sustenance.

You have just over a month to plan, host, and report back to us by Wednesday, June 1st. Then we'll gather any photos, videos, recipes, and write-ups you share with us at [email protected] all in one place for the whole community to enjoy. Rhubarb may not be cropping up near you quite yet, but hopefully it will show up in the next few weeks, at least in the northern hemisphere. And if not -- don't let that stop you: throw a party and preserve something else!

We trust that you'll come up with all kinds of creative ways to attack this challenge, but we've also provided a couple recipes below to get the conversation started. You might also want to check out the entries in last year's contest for Your Best Rhubarb Recipe.

Now: anyone who's interested in hosting or attending -- pipe up in the comments section below!

rhubarb

Rhubarb Preserve, 1955

From The Complete Book of Home Preserving by Ann Seranne

Combine 3 cups sugar and 1 cup water, bring to a boil, and cook until the syrup reached the hard-crack stage, or until it becomes brittle when a drop is put in cold water. Add 1 quart diced rhubarb and cook until the fruit is tender and clear and the syrup registers 224° F. on a candy thermometer. Turn into hot jars and seal.

 

Rhubarb Marmalade, 1876

From The Essential New York Times Cookbook by Amanda Hesser

Makes about 6 half-pints

  • 2 1/2 pounds rhubarb, trimmed
  • 3 oranges
  • 4 1/2 cups sugar

1. Cut the rhubarb into 1/2-inch-thick slices; you need 10 cups. Peel the zest from the oranges with a vegetable peeler, and cut the zest into small pieces; you need 1/2 cup. Cut the pith from the oranges, then slice the oranges in half like a grapefruit. Remove and discard the seeds. Cut the orange pulp into small chunks; you need 2 1/2 cups.

2. Combine the rhubarb, oranges, and orange zest in a large heavy enameled cast-iron or other nonreactive pot, add the sugar, and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally so the fruit doesn't stick to the pan; you'll need to stir more often as the marmalade thickens. Skim the foam as needed. The marmalade is ready when a spoonful dropped onto a plate sets when cool.

3. Have ready 6 scalded half-pint jars and screw bands, with new lids (see Cooking Notes). Simmer the lids in hot water to soften the rubberized flange. Ladle the marmalade into the jars leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Wipe the rims. Put the lids on and screw the bands on fingertip tight.

4. Place the jars on a rack in a big pot and add water until it is 2 to 3 inches over the jars. Cover the pot and bring to a boil over high heat, then lower the heat to medium and boil gently for 15 minutes. Remove the lid and then, after about 5 minutes, remove the jars. Allow the jars to cool, untouched, for 4 to 6 hours.

5. Check the seals, and store in a cool, dark place for up to a year. Refrigerate after opening.

Cooking Notes

Always use a heavy nonreactive pot for preserves. I like enameled cast-iron because it holds heat well and the preserves tend not to stick or burn so easily.

To scald preserving jars, simply dip the jars in boiling water.

To sterilize preserving jars, boil the jears in water to cover for 10 minutes.

"Fingertip tight" means the band is screwed on as tight as you can when screwing on a band using your fingertips -- in other words, not super-tight.

When filling jars, if you can't completely fill the last jar, don't sweat it -- just put that one in the fridge and use it up in a week or two.

To check the seal on a jar, remove the band and lift the jar by its thin lid. If it's sealed properly, it will hold.

To lessen the incidence of foam, add 1/2 teaspoon butter to the marmalade while it it cooking.

- April 16, 1876: "The Household"

Jump to Comments (133)

Comments (133)

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over 3 years ago ACS

BTW Washington State is top rhubarb growing state. The crop was late due to cold spring, but the harvest just came in over the past 2 weeks. You can often find it frozen, IQF in 1" pieces, really convenient. Check Whole Foods for the frozen product.
I always called it rhubarb sauce, but preserves woks too...and it's awesome with plain Greek yogurt. I make rhubarb pie and crumble often because hey, it's easy as pie!

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over 3 years ago Panfusine

New to rhubarb,... but amazed at its potential, looking fwd to the results of the project...

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over 3 years ago Sagegreen

Anyone possibly free to join us out in western Mass. on Sunday May 22nd? Send me an email on this site if so. That looks like my free window. And we finally are seeing rhubarb, too!

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over 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Oh, I wish I could come! We had so much fun with our little party yesterday, and truly wish you could have been here. We're going to be at a wedding this weekend though. However, we should all get to work on planning a Massachusetts food52 pickling party and potluck and find a date and a place where we could all get together.

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over 3 years ago Bevi

If I am not traveling I would love to come from Vermont to join you.

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over 3 years ago Sagegreen

Oh I wish you could have come last weekend!! I wound up being alone, so made aioli and rhubarb alternately! I guess my solo results won't be worthy of sharing. Now I will be in Brooklyn until Monday. Darn, the timing is just off.

Cakes

over 3 years ago Bevi

If you get even a couple of hours to slip away, go to the Bklyn. flea Smorg on Sat. or the regular flea on Sunday. My daughter is there and introduce yourself.

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over 3 years ago Sagegreen

Thanks so much for the tip: Sunday morning is free. I will look for your daughter there.

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over 3 years ago Sagegreen

The rhubarb and all the preserves at Maiden Preserves in Brooklyn you can find at the Smorgasbord. Bevi's daughter Eva is one of the proprietors. Each jar is a jewel in its own right. Anyone who is near Brooklyn Flea Saturdays should so stop by!!!! The packaging is really elegant simplicity. An outing really worth the trip. Check out at online at: maidenpreserves.com

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over 3 years ago Helen's All Night Diner

FYI - I just received the June edition of La Cucina Italiana which has the following rhubarb, rabarbaro, recipes:
Tagliatelle with rhubarb and fresh dill
Sweet and sour rhubarb soup
Spiced rhubarb chutney for roast pork
Savory rhubarb compote for cheese
Rhubarb dip for vegetables
Rhubarb-Ginger compote for desserts
Braised guinea hen with rhubarb and red onions
Tandoori shrimp with crispy rice and rhubarb
Rhubarb creme brulee with rubarb confit
Rhubarb layer cake (I'm going to try this one - it also has carrots in it!)

Some food for thought or ideas for the various pot lucks that are happening around our get togethers!

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over 3 years ago LittleKitchen

Anyone in Houston??

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over 3 years ago goldenblind221

Hey, I'm not alone out here in Houston! I'd like to participate in rhubarbery. :-)

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over 3 years ago goldenblind221

Hey, I'm not alone out here in Houston! I'd like to participate in rhubarbery. :-)

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over 3 years ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Waverly is in the Houston area too!

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over 3 years ago coconutlime

Anyone in Baltimore up for it? email me coconutlimeblog @gmail.com

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over 3 years ago jamnbake

Oooh. I'd love to host a canning group! Anyone out there from Madison?

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over 3 years ago SBKSB

Amanda--the Plum Torte recipe (that you said was the most-mentioned when you were gathering favorites for the New York Times Cookbook) works very well with rhubarb. Just dice uncooked stalks to 1/2" and add them to the batter after the dry ingredients; sprinkle with turbinado or white sugar. Lemon zest in batter also good here.

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over 3 years ago GoodFoodie

I'm on the North Shore of Chicago. Anyone out there?
I am a rhubarb nut. After living in Germany where rhubarb is a national icon, I became a convert. I have a Rhubarb recipe folder going - including my famous Rhabarber Kuchen!

Ashtaco

over 3 years ago wanderash

I'll be moving to the North Shore of Chicago in July. I will have to sit this one out from my rhubarb-less post in Mexico, but I am SO EXCITED to be a part of this sort of thing in the very near future!!!! ....hopefully, something that will involve eating your famous Rhabarber Kuchen!

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over 3 years ago littlegaper

I am North of Chicago, too, and willing to give this a go. Not sure when we will have local rhubarb.

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over 3 years ago Kiss My Braciola Goodbye

Anyone from Bucks County, PA???? Otherwise I'm hopping to Brooklyn with Rhubarb Cocktails!

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over 3 years ago cheese1227

I'm in Carlisle, PA. I tend to participate in the DC Food52 group as to date there hasn't been a group that's cropped up in Philly. I'd be happy to join in there too!

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over 3 years ago Kiss My Braciola Goodbye

I'm inFurlong, PA.... just outside of Doylestown. Would love to get a group together. Perhaps at a local farm would be fun. I know quite a few. We could film it!

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over 3 years ago Stirnourish

Friendlyoaks, JoanG, ALittle Zaftig and MplsCitified - so great to hear that there is a Mpls/St. Paul contingent! Here is my email address: [email protected]. Send me an email with your contact information and I'll coordinate. Happy to have it at my place! I am blessed to have a kitchen with some elbow room. Looking forward to hearing from you!

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over 3 years ago goldenblind221

I've never tasted rhubarb. Looks pretty.

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over 3 years ago MegB

A little daunted by wading through all these locations/replies, but if there are any Netherlands cooks out there (den Haag area? I'm in Delft) I'd be curious to chat. Rhubarb's definitely already at the markets here.

Miglore

over 3 years ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

So exciting to see all these different rhubarb parties brewing! Here's a tool we heard about a while back that might help you keep track of who's bringing what: http://signup.pleasebringit...

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over 3 years ago TiggyBee

DC, Brooklyn, PNW, Hawaii, Austin, Boston, Copenhagen or bust

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over 3 years ago friendlyoaks

Stirnourish, joanG, and ALittleZaftig, I am in St. Paul. I don't know much about canning, but it would be fun to give it a try. Count me in.

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over 3 years ago friendlyoaks

MplsCitified might be interested too??

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over 3 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Merrill and I would love to host a rhubarb-ery day at my apartment in Brooklyn Heights. We're thinking Saturday May 21. We can fit 15 people. Let us know who would like to attend!

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over 3 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

Wow! That's even more tempting than MrsW's invitation. (sorry Cathy!) Count me in! I'll bring Rhubarb Scones (and crack cookies), if that's okay.

Ehanhan4

over 3 years ago nomnivorous

I was going to host, but your kitchen holds many more people. I'm in!

PS no Blogher Food for Food52? (Just curious)

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over 3 years ago wssmom

Dang, I am out of town that weekend! :(

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over 3 years ago ALittleZaftig

I'm in New York that week and would love to come! So excited!

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over 3 years ago singing_baker

I would love to come!

Winnie100

over 3 years ago WinnieAb

Me me me! I'd love to come!

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over 3 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

AARGH! I'll still be in Portugal (or I would totally be there)! (I know, you're crying sad tears for me.) I will be thinking of y'all!

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over 3 years ago theyearinfood

Heck, maybe I'll just have to hop on the magical train that departs San Francisco and arrives Brooklyn.

Winnie100

over 3 years ago WinnieAb

And my dad would love to be there, too, if there's room :)

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over 3 years ago WinnieAb

And my dad would love to be there, too, if there's room :)

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over 3 years ago gingerroot

@yearinfood Save me a spot on the magical train...I just have to figure out how to get to SF from Honolulu (magical boat?)

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over 3 years ago autumnmakes

yes please!

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over 3 years ago enbe

Why oh why did I move from BKLYN? I lived there most of my life!

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over 3 years ago elsbeth

I would love to come if there's room!

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over 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Oh man, pretty much only this could make me give serious consideration to taking the Fung Wah bus...

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over 3 years ago luvcookbooks

Meg is a trusted home cook.

can come in the afternoon if there is room, working in the am

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over 3 years ago ALittleZaftig

If there is room for one more, my college-age daughter will be in town with me and is begging to come along. She's a pretty great cook, too.

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over 3 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Wow, looks like we have a good group forming for the Brooklyn group project. Please email [email protected] with the subject line Rhubarb with Amanda & Merrill, and then we can start a thread to work out the details. Looking forward to it!

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over 3 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

So.... Mother Nature and MrsWheelbarrow have weighed in and because rhubarb won't be available in some places until later in the month, we've decided to extend the deadline to JUNE 1. Please note this -- we look forward to seeing everyone's projects!

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over 3 years ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

Ha! Thank you.

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over 3 years ago dymnyno

Great! No rhubarb was to be found yesterday in the Napa Valley!

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over 3 years ago Lizthechef

Thanks for extending the deadline. I have no idea why the rhubarb season is later in CA than in the East, but, indeed, it is. Early June is pushing it even for San Diego, believe it or not.

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over 3 years ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

Hi Amanda & Merrill - After some research, we're finding rhubarb won't be locally available until the beginning of May - maybe after the 10th. Anyway we can move the deadline a couple of weeks?

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over 3 years ago Sugartoast

Hi Mrs Wheelbarrow: It's your Ch Ch neighbor here, just wondering if I might be able to join in the project? Not sure if it's taken place or if you still have room, but on the off chance that your still welcoming participants, please let me know!