I will always remember the rhubarb patch on the side of my Great Grandma’s house. She used to give me a little bowl of sugar and we would pick it and dip the rhubarb into the sugar and eat it right there on a hot summer day in the shade of the house. I always loved this unusual vegetable which resembles giant red celery stalks (which becomes a fruit in pie due to it’s sour flavor). The cooked flavor is somewhere in between apples, plums and strawberries.
Many of my friends from Europe have never heard of or seen this vegetable, which kind of seems strange, since it was introduced to Europe in the 1700-1800s. Originating in China, Tibet, Mongolia and Siberia, rhubarb made it’s way into European medicine cabinets, and was used for intestinal problems, Hepatitis B, laxative and autoimmune reactions. The leaves are actually poisonous! Thankfully, only the stalk is used in recipes!
EQUIPMENT NEEDED: 6 pint canning jars with lids and rings 1 large stock pot 1 large sauce pot 1 jar lifter 1 canning funnel 1 ladle 1 pair tongs 1 whisk 2 kitchen towels
8 cups fresh rhubarb, chopped
4 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups water
1 lemon, juiced, seeds reserved in a cheesecloth pouch or tea ball
1 teaspoon butter
Prepare your canning jars, using instructions found HERE
Put a small plate in the freezer for the “plate set test”.
Place rhubarb, sugar, lemon juice, lemon seed pouch and butter in a large saucepan and turn heat on medium. Stir until the sugar begins to dissolve. Turn the heat up and bring the mixture to a boil. Cook for 45 minutes, stirring almost constantly.
Test the gel of the preserves by dribbling a small amount onto the cold plate. It should set up almost immediately, if it does not, boil for another 10-12 minutes. Ladle preserves into your sterlized jars with the help of a canning funnel.
Fill jars to within 1/4″ of the top, leaving room for the seal. Clean the rims or the jars so they are as clean as possible to ensure a good seal. Place the lids and rings on each of the jars.
Using the jar lifter again, return the jars to the stock pot and process for 15 more minutes.
Remove back to the kitchen towel for 24 hours and be sure to listen to the telltale “pops” of the jar lids, signaling a good seal. If any of the jars fail to “pop”, or if the center of the lid isn’t depressed, store jars in the refrigerator. Place jars in a cool dark place for about a week, undisturbed, until set.