Savory Rhubarb Conserve

Savory Rhubarb ConserveSavory Rhubarb Conserve is a low-sugar cooked conserve made with Pomona’s Pectin. Pomona’s Pectin contains no sugar or preservatives and jells reliably with low amounts of any sweetener. See below for where to buy.

This recipe was created by Allison Carroll Duffy for Pomona’s Pectin. She says: “When preparing rhubarb, the first and most important thing to do is discard the leaves; the leaves are poisonous. Then wash the stalks and cut them up whatever way you like – I usually chop the stalks into medium-sized chunks.

“This rhubarb conserve is a savory one – sweet, sour, spicy, and a little bit pungent, all at the same time. It’s like a chutney, really, and I use it in the same way.”

Yield: 4 to 5 cups

Before You Begin:
Prepare calcium water. To do this, combine ½ teaspoon calcium powder (in the small packet in your box of Pomona’s pectin) with ½ cup water in a small, clear jar with a lid. Shake well. Extra calcium water should be stored in the refrigerator for future use.

Savory Rhubarb Conserve Ingredients

1¾ pounds trimmed rhubarb stalks
1 cup diced onion
½ cup golden raisins (or regular raisins, if you prefer)
1 cup apple cider vinegar
½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 Tablespoon orange zest
2 Tablespoons finely minced ginger root
1 teaspoon whole mustard seed
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons calcium water
2½ cups sugar (divided)
2 teaspoons Pomona’s pectin powder

Savory Rhubarb Conserve Directions

1. Wash and rinse jars, lids, and screw bands. Set screw bands aside until ready to use. Place jars in boiling water bath canner with a rack, fill at least 2/3 of the way full with water, and bring to a boil. Boil jars for 10 minutes to sterilize (add 1 additional minute of sterilizing time for every 1000 feet above sea level), then turn down heat and let jars stand in hot water until ready to use. Place lids in water in a small pan, bring to a low simmer, and hold there until ready to use.

2. Rinse the rhubarb stalks. Slice the stalks lengthwise in to strips, then dice.

defrosted rhubarb in dish

Allison’s defrosted, diced rhubarb

3. In a large sauce pan, combine diced rhubarb, diced onion, raisins, vinegar, orange juice, orange zest, minced ginger root, mustard seed, allspice, cardamom, cloves, coriander, turmeric, salt, and black pepper. Put a lid on the pan and bring mixture to a boil over high heat. Then reduce heat and simmer, still covered, for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Remove the sauce pan from the heat. Transfer the mixture into a bowl or other heat-proof container, then measure out 4 cups of the mixture. (If you have any left over, you can use it for something else.) Pour the measured quantity of the mixture back into the sauce pan. Add the calcium water and stir to combine.

5. Measure 1 cup sugar into a bowl. Thoroughly mix pectin powder into sugar. Set aside.

6. Put the sauce pan on the stove and bring the rhubarb mixture up to a rolling boil over high heat. Add the sugar-pectin mixture, then stir vigorously for 1 to 2 minutes, still over the highest heat, to dissolve the pectin.

7. Add remaining 1½ cups sugar once pectin is dissolved. Stir well and return to a boil. Once the conserve returns to a full boil, remove it from the heat.

8. Remove hot jars from canner and fill jars with conserve, leaving ¼ inch of headspace. Remove trapped air bubbles, wipe rims with a damp cloth, and put on lids and screw bands, tightening bands only to “fingertip tight” (until resistance is met, and then just the tiniest bit more).

9. Place jars in the hot water, on the rack inside the canner. (Make sure jars are upright, not touching each other or the sides of the canner, and are covered with at least 1-2 inches of water). Place the lid on the canner, return the canner to a rolling boil, and boil for 10 minutes. (Add 1 minute additional processing time for every 1000 feet above sea level.)

10. Turn off heat and allow canner and jars to sit for 5 minutes. Then remove jars from canner.

11. Allow jars to cool undisturbed for 12 to 24 hours. Then confirm that jars have sealed. Remove screw bands from sealed jars, rinse off outside of jars if necessary, label jars, and store for later use.

Recipe and photos by Allison Carroll Duffy

Read Allison’s complete blog post here.

You may also like Rhubarb Jam, Rhubarb-n-Zest Jamor Pear-Cranberry Conserve with Almonds and Crystallized Ginger.

For more inspiring recipe ideas, see Preserving with Pomona’s Pectin: The Revolutionary Low-Sugar, High-Flavor Method for Crafting and Canning Jams, Jellies, Conserves, and More by Allison Carroll Duffy and the Pomona’s Partners, published by Fair Winds Press, June 2013, and available in paper or ebook everywhere books are sold.

Pomona’s Pectin is available at your local natural food store, food co-op, and many farm stands. Find it also at Sur La Table and a growing number of more conventional grocery stores with natural food sections (Wegmans, Hy-Vee, Rosauers, Nugget Markets, Coborns, Fairway, and others). If you can’t find a store near you on our store locator, you can order from our website or many other online sellers.

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2 thoughts on “Savory Rhubarb Conserve

    • Dear Ursula,
      Generally in all Pomona’s Pectin recipes, sugar can be reduced and sweetness can be supplemented with stevia, or sugar can be eliminated and another sweetener used, including stevia. The trick is finding the right amount of alternative sweetener for your taste.

      Since this recipe was developed using sugar, we can’t tell you the exact amount of a sugar/stevia combination to use to produce the same flavor or the right sweetness for you. It’s important to remember that rhubarb is quite tart to start with and this recipe includes a number of strong spices. Both of these factors are important to take into consideration when thinking about reducing sweetner.

      Section 5 of the FAQs on our website answers many questions about substituting sweeteners in a Pomona’s recipe. The last question in that section gives you the minimum amount of sugar or honey you need to stir the pectin into, if using some of either of those sweeteners, in order for the pectin to disperse properly.

      If you want to use concentrated stevia as your only sweetener, you will need to make liquid pectin before adding the pectin to the boiling fruit mixture. Instructions for doing this are on the back side of the direction sheet that comes with the pectin, small pink square, upper left corner, and also in the FAQs.

      I hope you will take a few minutes to look through the FAQs, Section 5, and I hope you are able to come up with a combination that works for you. We would love to hear about your results as I’m sure that others would be interested too.

      Thanks for using Pomona’s — and happy jamming!

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