Strawberry Rhubarb Conserve
Unlike jelly or jam, a conserve is preserved fruit that is kept whole or in large pieces. No pectin is used and instead the fruit is preserved in a syrup made from its own juices and usually water or other fruit juice. A scoop of this conserve makes a bowl of plain vanilla ice cream a springtime delicacy.
2 cups fresh strawberries, trimmed and halved
1⁄4 cup sugar
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon apple or white grape juice
1 pound rhubarb, trimmed and sliced into 1-inch pieces
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon cherry brandy (optional)
Combine strawberries, sugar and one tablespoon apple juice in a metal bowl. Stir gently. Cover and let sit at room temperature for an hour until the mix is slightly soupy.
In a large pot, mix the rhubarb, lemon juice and remaining fruit juice. Cover and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the rhubarb is cooked through and tender, about 15 minutes.
Add the strawberry mixture and cook until the berries are just tender, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the strawberries and rhubarb to pint jars. Continue simmering the liquid until it thickens into a syrupy consistency, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the cherry brandy if using. Pour the syrup over the fruit in the jars. Seal, and let cool to room temperature.
This recipe originally appeared in our Spring 2012 issue. For another recipe from that issue, click here.