Rhubarb Preserves – Tart-Sweet and Chunky
Cook Rhubarb Preserves in the oven and you may never make jam or preserves on the stove-top again. Almost effortless and splatter-free oven cooking requires little attention. An occasional gentle stir assures even cooking of the rhubarb and retains its chunky texture. Made from just rhubarb, sugar, salt and vanilla, Rhubarb Preserves taste tart-sweet and full-flavored. Enjoy their soft and chunky texture and rhubarb tang stirred into yogurt, spread thickly on toast or as a sauce for ice cream.
Jam versus preserves
Both jams and preserves are thick spreads made from fruit cooked with a sweetener. The main difference lies in their texture. Preserves are chunkier. They contain large pieces of fruit and even whole fruit, such as berries. Jams contain chopped, crushed or even puréed fruit and/or fruit juice.
Cooked in the oven
During my days as a pastry chef, we would make (literally) gallons of apple butter in the oven. Letting the apple butter reduce for hours in the oven made the process much, much easier. With an oven’s all around heat, the apple butter cooked evenly without burning and without requiring constant stirring.
Reminded of this process while reading a Saveur story on making jam in the oven, I immediately knew what I would do with the bounty of just-picked crimson stalks of rhubarb in our fridge. One delicious taste of these almost effortless Rhubarb Preserves and I began refining the recipe to share it with you. Do give these preserves a try while you can still find in-season fresh rhubarb in local gardens, farmers’ markets and some supermarkets.
Rhubarb varieties vary in color from pale green to pink to crimson. The color of the rhubarb stalks determines the color of the cooked rhubarb. Personally, I pick through and find the deepest red stalks I can find. Though, I believe next time, just for fun, I’ll try Rhubarb Preserves using green rather than crimson stalks. When I do, I’ll post a photo.Or, if you do it first, send me a photo 😉
Rhubarb Preserves – Cooked in the Oven
Cooking Rhubarb Preserves in the oven takes a little longer to make than if cooked stove top. However, gentle cooking in the oven helps the rhubarb retain its shape. It also makes for almost effortless and splatter-free preserves. Enjoy Rhubarb Preserves stirred into yogurt, spread thickly on toast or as a sauce for ice cream. Thank you Saveur for inspiring this recipe
Makes 4-4 ½ cups Printer-Friendly Recipe
Active Time 15 minutes
Total Time 95 minutes
2 ½ pounds trimmed fresh rhubarb
1 ¼ cups organic sugar
¼ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Cut the trimmed rhubarb into approximately 1 x 1 ½ inch pieces. With thick stalks of rhubarb you’ll have about 4 ½ cups of cut rhubarb. Less, with thinner stalks.
- In a large bowl toss together the rhubarb, sugar and salt. Transfer the mixture into a 9 x 14 inch baking dish.
- Bake the rhubarb about 80 minutes. Every 20-25 minutes use a rubber spatula to gently stir the rhubarb. Remove the pan from the oven when the rhubarb is very soft and the juices have become syrupy. The juices will continue to thicken as the preserves cool.
- Gently stir in the pure vanilla extract.
- Transfer the Rhubarb Preserves into clean jars. As these preserves are not “canned,” store them in the refrigerator for 2 plus weeks, or frozen for up to 6 months.