The bright red stalks of early spring rhubarb give this jam its lovely color as well as it's tangy flavor. It will keep in the refrigerator for up to one month, or in the freezer for up to six months.
- 4 cups chopped rhubarb (1 1/2 pounds rhubarb leaf stalks)
- 3/4 to 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
- Place all the ingredients in a medium sized pot over low heat, starting with the lesser amount of sugar. Stir constantly until all of the sugar is dissolved.
- Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the rhubarb pieces fall apart. When the compote is about as thick as applesauce, turn off the heat.
- Taste, and add additional sugar if you desire more sweetness. Keep in mind, though, that the sour flavor is part of what is special about rhubarb. If you do add additional sugar, return the heat to low and stir constantly until the sugar is completely dissolved.
- Fill freezer containers with the rhubarb jam, leaving an inch of head space. Small containers no larger than a pint are recommended, so that when you thaw one it isn't an overwhelming amount of jam to use up. Alternatively, fill quart size freezer bags with 8 to 16 ounces of the jam.
Rhubarb jam will keep in the freezer for up to 6 months. It is still safe to eat after that but the quality will decline. Freshly made, unfrozen rhubarb jam will keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.
- Strawberry-rhubarb is a classic combination. Simply replace 1/2 of the rhubarb with hulled, chopped strawberries and reduce the amount of sugar.
- Ginger pairs wonderfully with rhubarb. Add 1 - 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger or 1 tablespoon finely chopped crystallized (candied) ginger to the recipe.
- Turn the jam into rhubarb sorbet by chilling the jam in the refrigerator overnight (8 - 12 hours), or as long as 24 hours. Process in an ice cream machine according to the manufacturer's instructions.
- Rhubarb is in the Rheum genus. It is originally from Siberia, so yes, it's cold-hardy! It's fairly easy to grow rhubarb, and although it would prefer full it will tolerate partial sun.
- The leafstalks are the part we eat. The green parts of the leaves are toxic, which is why you never see rhubarb stalks for sale with the leaves attached.
- Most commonly treated like a sour "fruit" and sweetened, rhubarb is also used as a vegetable in savory dishes.
- Green rhubarb leafstalks (but not the leaves!) are also edible and their flavor is identical to the red ones.