Slather it on toast, serve along side a sharp cheese or baked brie, swirl it in oatmeal or chia pudding or top pancakes or waffles with it. Maple-Rhubarb Conserve is a citrusy, naturally sweetened, texture rich condiment: so versatile and freezer friendly. This recipe is vegetarian, vegan and gluten free.
A Daily Routine
When I was in pastry school I rented a room from a family in Seattle. Their home is a beautiful craftsman-style home, over 100 years old, in a tree-lined neighborhood near Green Lake. My home, on Whidbey Island, was too far of a commute to my five-days-a-week pastry classes, so I lived in Seattle during the week and drove back home on the weekends.
Having never lived in a big city, it was an opportunity to get to know Seattle, its cozy neighborhoods surrounding the city and new friends. Walking down the street for craft ice-cream or a skillfully made latte made city living quite attractive.
Green Lake was one of my favorite places to visit, almost daily. This is where I’d work out the events of the day, thinking through new skills learned or working out stress. The almost three mile path around the lake proved to be a regular fun filled diversion. There was always something interesting to see in this vibrant park, like the occasional goat walker or musician.
My home-away-from-home was super cozy, welcoming and accommodating. My house mates loved to cook, so it was a natural fit to talk about food, and gardening and comb through cook-books.
One afternoon upon retuning from a walk at Green Lake, my house mate made a plum conserve recipe she wanted me to try. At this point, I had never heard of a conserve, but was eager to try something new. She paired the plum conserve with a rich, whole milk yogurt.
Needless to say, I couldn’t wait to get the plum recipe. When I did, she also sent a recipe similar to Maple-Rhubarb Conserve. I’ve been patiently waiting for rhubarb season so I could share it with y’all. When rhubarb finally arrived at the market, I grabbed up a bundle and got to work.
The only modification I made to the original recipe was to use maple syrup instead of granulated sugar and I added a pinch of cinnamon. I made this change because not only does rhubarb taste sublime with maple syrup, but also because the time I generally use this conserve is for breakfast.
Conserves, Jellies and Jams OH MY!
In the process I learned conserves are similar to jams, jellies, marmalades and fruit spreads. The Kitchen has a good comparison of these. What makes a conserve stand out however, is it’s chunky texture made with zest, dried fruits, and nuts. The addition of lemon and orange juice gives this conserve a complex flavor that’ll have you dipping your spoon in the jar for more.
How to Make this Conserve
This recipe comes together with ease. Throw all the ingredients, save the walnuts, into a pot and let it simmer while you take care of the stuff life is made of. Make a double batch to freeze for later. Here’s how to do it:
- First, toast the walnuts.
- Second, in a sauce-pot add the rhubarb, maple syrup, raisins, zest and juice of the lemons and orange, water, salt and cinnamon. Bring to a simmer then cook on medium low.
- Last, remove from heat, and stir in walnuts. The conserve will thicken as it cools.
How to Enjoy Rhubarb Conserve
- Go Sweet: Swirling it in chia pudding, oats or porridge makes breakfast feel extra special. I’ve been known to plop a big ole’ dollop on top of pancakes or waffles, or smear it on a piece of toast. Gently warmed, it’s fabulous on vanilla bean ice cream!
- Go Savory: Maple-Rhubarb Conserve also pairs with various cheeses like blue, or gouda. I can also imagine it atop a wheel of melty brie. The sweet plays off full flavor cheese beautifully.
A Few Recipe Notes
- Freezer Friendly? Yes Please! Freeze in lidded container for up to a month, thaw overnight in the fridge.
- This recipe makes just at 2 cups, but if you’ve a lot of rhubarb on hand, it doubles with ease.
- While I’ve included cinnamon in this recipe, I imagine cardamom would be a lovely substitute.
More Rhubarb Recipes to Love
- 1/2 C Walnuts 60g
- 3 C Rhubarb sliced in 1/4" (.6cm) pieces, about 3 stalks, 430g
- 1 C Pure Maple Syrup 300g
- 1/2 C Golden Raisins 80g
- 2 Lemons zested and juiced
- 1 Large Orange zested and juiced
- 2 Tbs Water
- 1/8 tsp Sea Salt
- 1/8 tsp Cinnamon ground
- Preheat oven to 325F (163C). Toast walnuts for 8-9 minutes, or until fragrant. Set aside to cool. Chop. Set aside.
- In a medium sauce-pot add the rhubarb, maple syrup, raisins, zest and juice of the lemons and orange, water, salt and cinnamon. Bring to a simmer then cook on medium low, stirring occassionally, for 25 minutes. The mixture will thicken. For the last 5 minutes, turn the heat to low. Remove from heat, and stir in walnuts.
- Transfer to lidded containers and refrigerate or freeze. The conserve will thicken as it cools.
- Store in the refrigerator for up to a week. In the freezer for up to a month.