Thursday, May 12, 2011

Rhubarb Cranberry Conserve

Growing up, I was mystified by the plant in my Mom's garden with bright red stalks and big green leaves. I soon found out that it was called rhubarb. Each year, my mom would harvest stalks off the plant, chop them up, and cook them for hours on the stove with oranges, raisins, and sugar. Eventually, it became something she called "Rhubarb Conserve". I didn't eat a lot of it back then, but as I've gotten older I've learned to love it. Every time she makes a batch, I try to snag a few jars for myself. They get eaten pretty quickly once opened!

My mom was gracious enough to pass on a copy of her old recipe card (originally printed with a typewriter!) to the girl and myself so we could make some ourselves. The girl had the idea to use cranberries instead of raisins, kumquats instead of oranges, and a lot less sugar. The result was amazing, both in color and flavor. We gave some to my parents after it was done, and luckily my Mom gave her seal of approval.

It's great on toast or an English muffin, or stirred into yogurt, frozen yogurt, or ice cream. You could also top a plain angel food, bundt, or pound cake with it for a simple dessert.

Rhubarb Cranberry Conserve

1 qt. sliced rhubarb
12 oz. kumquats, seeds removed and sliced into half-moons
3 1/8 c. sugar (probably could make this just 3 c. even, depending on how sour your rhubarb is)
20 oz. crushed pineapple, or 20 oz. pineapple rings chopped in a food processor

Mix everything together and let stand for 2 hours. Boil for 15 mins, stirring often so it doesn't burn.


1/2 c. dried sweetened cranberries
1/2 c. fresh cranberries (you could use all dried or all fresh)
1/2 c. walnuts, broken into small pieces

Cook until thick, stirring constantly so it doesn't burn. (The mixture will thicken even more once it's cooled.)

Let cool and then store in the fridge.

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