In Pennsylvania, rhubarb is always plentiful in spring and there are many different ways to prepare it. The Pennsylvania Dutch serve stewed rhubarb as a side dish with the meal, or as a dessert. It is also great as a topper for ice cream, pancakes or waffles. This recipe can be made in any amount desired. It is very easy to preserve in jars. See the notes below for additional cooking and serving suggestions, as well as preserving guidelines.
6 cups of 3/4-inch rhubarb slices
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Pinch of salt
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar (more or less to taste)
Place rhubarb, lemon juice and salt in large pot. Add just enough water to cook. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, covered, until tender, about 45 minutes. Check occasionally and add water if needed. If there appears to be too much liquid, remove the lid and cook until the moisture has evaporated. Add the sugar, starting with less, and stir well. Cook until the sugar is dissolved. Taste for sweetness, adding more sugar if needed.
Notes: Depending on how you intend to serve the rhubarb, other ingredients can be added. For example, if serving as a side dish, I might add some butter. For a dessert, you might want to add some cinnamon. For an ice cream topping, a little strawberry jam will thicken and sweeten the rhubarb. This can even be used as a fruity, tangy salsa. Cut the pieces smaller, do not cook as long, omit some of the sugar and add something like balsamic vinegar. There are many possibilities.
Preserving: It will take about 10-1/2 pounds of rhubarb for 7 quarts, or 7 pounds for 9 pints. Place the rhubarb in a large pot and add 1/2 cup sugar for each quart of fruit. Lemon juice and salt can be added. Let set until it starts to make juices, then heat until boiling. Fill jars, leaving a 1/2-inch headspace. Adjust lids and process in a boiling water canner for 15 minutes at an altitude up to 1,000 feet, 20 minutes from 1,000 to 6,000 feet. The time is the same for either size jar. (Processing times are based on guidelines provided by the USDA National Food Safety Database.)
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