Perfect Rhubarb Jelly

I am an absolute freak for rhubarb. If I see those gleaming red stalks in a grocery store or someone’s garden, if I spy a piece of rhubarb pie in a bakery display case, if I even see the word “rhubarb” on a printed page, I start drooling as helplessly as one of Pavlov’s mutts.

As you might imagine, I also collect rhubarb recipes: CHOW’s Rhubarb-Almond Bars and rhubarb-laced Knockout Punch are in my regular rotation. But it’s tough to find a good recipe for one of my rhubarb staples: rhubarb jelly. Commercially made rhubarb jelly is all but nonexistent; if a jelly company uses rhubarb at all, it’s always combined with strawberry. I’m happy to make my own, but most rhubarb jelly recipes also invite in the insidious strawberry.

The rhubarb jelly recipe from the ’wichcraft cookbook, however, is just about perfect. Lots of rhubarb. Lots of sugar. Just a little bit of lemon. The recipe is for refrigerator jelly, meaning you have to use it all up or it goes bad in a couple of weeks, but I don’t see why you couldn’t can it to have it around during the no-rhubarb months.

The only downside is the time the recipes takes, since the rhubarb has to macerate overnight with the sugar and lemon. Funny that, since the recipe is part of a larger recipe on making a PBJ. Do you know many people who want to take two days to make a PBJ? Yeah, me neither.

By the way, if you too are a rhubarb freak, just about anything you’d want to know about the vegetable (yes!), from growing to cooking to medicinal uses, can be found at the Rhubarb Compendium.