It’s rhubarb season!
Well, actually, the season is about to wrap up, and I am just a little behind in getting this posted! Here in the Pacific Northwest, rhubarb begins to show up in farmer’s markets and grocery stores in April and lasts until late June or early July.
Unlike other seasonal vegetables that are available year-round, you are not likely to find rhubarb outside its prime season. So I say: when you see it, buy it, cook it and preserve it for all the other months of the year when you will not have access to this seasonal vegetable.
Rhubarb, a delightfully tart vegetable stalk, is often paired with strawberries and quite a bit of sugar to create jams, crisps, tarts, and pies. While I love all of the above, I also appreciate the sharp and straightforward rhubarb flavor all on its own. Here I have taken the liberty of adding a touch of rosewater to bring more floral notes to the jam. Alternatively, you can replace the rosewater with a couple of cinnamon sticks, fresh ginger, or citrus zest to create other fun flavors!
It should come as no surprise that rhubarb has a special place in Persian cuisine. Its tart and sharp flavor suits Iranians’ love of all things sour. Not only is rhubarb cooked into jams, but it’s also pickled and cooked into stews! Check out Khoresh Rivas, in which rhubarb is added to a slow-cooked braise of beef and fresh herbs!
- 6 cups chopped rhubarb, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- 1 tablesoon rosewater
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- Place the rhubarb and sugar in a non-reactive bowl (glass or wood, rather than metal), cover and place in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours.
- Be sure to stir it a couple of times to help with extracting the liquid from the rhubarb.
- Place the macerated rhubarb along with the remainder of the ingredients into a large stainless steel pot.
- Cover and cook on medium heat until the mixture begins to simmer, about 15-20 mins. Stir frequently.
- Reduce heat and continue to simmer for another 10 minutes. The mixture should be nice and bubbly and slightly thickened.
- Remove from heat and allow the jam to settle, about 10 minutes.
- Transfer the jam into pre-sterilized jars.
- You can store the jam in the refrigerator for about 3 weeks, or about 6 months in the freezer. Otherwise, proceed with your favorite canning process to store the jam long-term.