Preserve It! Ginger Grapefruit Rhubarb Preserves


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Once I became comfortable in the jam/jelly/compote space, I really started having some fun and part of that included exploring other people’s Web sites, recipes and ideas. A chef friend of mine told me he believes that with any kind of cooking, once you learn the basics, the rest of it follows along pretty easily. He was right. When I stumbled upon this recipe, I was excited to try it. I’ve always wanted to cook with rhubarb, but then realized I totally missed the rhubarb window. Rhubarb is a spring fruit and as far as I can tell has a fairly short window of harvesting. However, as Brook Hurst Stephens points out on her Learn to Preserve Web site, when one has a lot of rhubarb, canning seems like a good option and pairing it with citrus even better. I’ll have to start earlier next year.

When I prepared to make this, I also happened to have a lot of ginger root and was looking for something to do with that as well. I figured that ginger and grapefruit would go well together, but I wasn’t sure about how well it would pair up with rhubarb. The last time I had tasted rhubarb was in Switzerland in 1993. It had been baked into a rhubarb crisp and served with creme fraiche. It was one of the best desserts I’ve ever had.  In the spirit of “having fun in my kitchen” I decided to go for it. At the time though, only frozen rhubarb was available, another wild card in my experiment. I’m happy to say that in the end, of the three jelly experiments during some rainy days at the end of August, this was my favorite, and I mean eat right out of the jar favorite.

Ginger Rhubarb Grapefruit Preserves

(adapted from the original recipe by Brook Hurst Stephens)


1 large organic grapefruit

1 lb. rhubarb stalks only, cut into 1/2″ chunks

1 piece fresh ginger root about 1″ long peeled and finely chopped

2 cups granulated sugar

What’s Next:

  1. Prepare your canner, jars,  and lids.
  2. Place chopped rhubarb in a medium size bowl. (As mine was frozen, I allowed it to thaw first in a colander so there would be no extra liquid).
  3. Wash your grapefruit. Zest the rind of the grapefruit into the bowl with the rhubarb.

    Ginger, Grapefruit juice, and rind combo
  4. Cut the grapefruit in half and then squeeze the juice into the same bowl.
  5. Add the sugar and ginger and stir until just combined. Allow to rest for 2 hours (or you can cover and refrigerate overnight.)
  6. Transfer to a heavy bottomed pot. Bring to a boil and boil hard for at least 10 minutes. Gently stir occasionally so that the sugar doesn’t allow mixture to stick to the bottom. It should be thick with small bubbles on the top. If there is foam, don’t worry about it, but you can skim off the top if you want.
  7. Fill  and seal jars. Process in your hot water bath canner for 15 minutes. When done, you should hear the popping sound from the lids sealing.

Notes from my experience:

If you have not done so already, I would encourage you to visit the Learn to Preserve site for this recipe. The photos are beautiful!

What I like about this recipe is that using frozen rhubarb worked well. Also, citrus season is approaching so buying a fresh grapefruit will be easy. Ginger root is available year round, so basically, you can make this at any time of year. I think it would smell great in the middle of winter cooking in the kitchen.

I also like that it does not involve using pectin. The boiling of the sugar in the mixture thickens it, so if you are nervous about using pectin (as I was the first time) this is a great recipe to start off with.

The recipe as prepared here yielded two 8oz. jars. This is so good that the next time I make it (and there will be a next time) I will double the recipe.

You can follow all of my cooking adventures (and mishaps) on Twitter: @TracyCooksIt.

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