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    Spring is in the air and it smells a lot like Rhubarb~Grapefruit Preserves

    It's springtime and I'm in love.

    With rhubarb.

    My neighbor has been sharing her robust patch of rhubarb with me, and I am taking full advantage of her generosity. 

    No matter how happy this abundance of rhubarb makes me, it's difficult to stay cheerful when it's been raining for 42 days in a row. In Seattle we have endured the rainiest (and coldest!) April on record.

    I can't think of a better way to chase away the rain than with sunny citrus. In this case, I chose grapefruit. Looks sort of like the sun, doesn't it? That's not a coincidence.

     No Photoshop color enhancements here...this is the real deal!

    Our rain has produced some first-rate rhubarb. Combine it with grapefruit & sugar and you have sparkling sweet-tart sunshine in a jar. This recipe is a walk in the park. 3 ingredients. 3 hours. And I spent 2.5 of those hours at school taking a math test. Seriously.


    To make this recipe you'll need: 

    • 1 pound of chopped rhubarb stalks, as seen in the photo* above
    • 1 good-sized grapefruit
    • 1 -2 cups of white sugar

    *Important note about the photo: Do NOT eat the leaves of rhubarb - they are poisonous to people and pets! 


     I advise you buy only organic grapefruit. You don't want waxes, pesticides, or toxins with your fruit, especially when you're eating the peel too.


    Zest the rind of one whole grapefruit.

    Zest the rind before cutting the grapefruit's easier. Don't zest it after you cut the grapefruit in half, like I did here. Not smart at all.

    (I was stressing about my math test and momentarily lost focus. Before I knew it I'd cut the grapefruit in half. I know; excuses, excuses.)


     Squeeeeeze the juice from the grapefruit halves over the chopped rhubarb. (Then scrape out the remaining grapefruit pulp and eat it!)



    Here's what the zest looks like atop the chopped rhubarb and grapefruit juice mixture.


    Add between one and two cups of sugar. I prefer to use two cups of sugar. I adore the contrast of the sour rhubarb, the tart grapefruit and the sweet white sugar.


    Stir until just combined, and set aside for 2 hours. (This is the point where I went to school and took my math test.) You can make this a 2-day process by letting it sit overnight, if you'd like. Just cover it well and put it in the fridge or another cool place.

    The grapefruit juice and sugar draw moisture from the rhubarb, and you end up with this marvelous ruby red mixture in just 2 hours! 

    Spoon this into a shallow, heavy-bottomed pan, and boil it like crazy for about 10 minutes, while stirring gently, occasionally, to prevent any sugar from sticking to the bottom of the pan. It should look thick, with small bubbles popping on the surface. It's okay if it develops white foam on the surface; it doesn't affect the flavor or texture.

    If the foam doesn't subside  after you remove the mixture from the heat, you can skim it off the surface before ladling into the jars, which is the next step...


    Oh my goodness...isn't this lovely?

    I wish you could smell my kitchen. The rhubarb and the grapefruit are a match made in Heaven. No wonder I'm in love with rhubarb; it plays so well with others.

    Sparkling Rhubarb~Grapefruit Preserves...ooh la la!


    ~ Recipe inspired by the fabulous "Chez Panisse Fruit Cookbook" ~ 

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    Reader Comments (14)

    That sounds great! I never thought to combine grapefruit & rhubarb together- but it sounds fantastic! And, yes, we need a sunny break from the weather- even if it only comes in the form of marmalade!

    May 14, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermeg- grow and resist

    Thank you Meg.
    I had never thought to combine the two before either --- much less made Rhubarb~Grapefruit Preserves --- but this turned out to be such a tasty blend. And the color of the preserves? Jewel-tones! So pretty.
    I am kind of on a rhubarb kick right now, but I'm trying not to be redundant by posting about rhubarb too often :)

    May 15, 2011 | Registered CommenterBrook Hurst Stephens

    Thats it, I'm going to have to go out this weekend and track down some rhubarb. I've been resisting but between this and the syrup recipe I read I've got to try something out.

    May 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAngela Watts

    Going to make this tonight. It looks delicious. If I put in small jars would processing time be about 10 minutes in water bath canner?

    May 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterElizabeth

    Glad to hear you're making this Elizabeth - you won't be disappointed!

    Sorry I didn't respond earlier. Hope it didn't mess you up. I had to drive to Olympia and back, and so I was offline for a few hours.

    Yes, if the preserves are hot when you ladle them into the jars, 10 minutes will be plenty of time. The rhubarb and grapefruit are both high acid too, so quite safe to process.
    (If you put the hot preserves into 8 oz (half-pint) jars, then I would say 10 minutes for sure.)

    Today's project: Rhubarb Bitters, Rhubarb Drinking Vinegar, and Pickled Rhubarb. All of these things have to sit for at least a week until they are ready to eat/drink, but they'll be pretty to look at in the meantime.

    Have a great day,


    May 17, 2011 | Registered CommenterBrook Hurst Stephens

    Angela - yay!

    Time to give in to the urge to eat more rhubarb. It's only in season for a few more weeks so you better hurry. Good thing about can enjoy your rhubarb-y goodness all year 'round.

    B :)

    May 17, 2011 | Registered CommenterBrook Hurst Stephens

    Well I LOVED it! You are right I was not disappointed! It was so easy too. I referenced your blog in a post I wrote this afternoon. Check it out, and THANKS for the delicious recipe :)

    May 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterElizabeth

    This makes me super happy.
    And you blog post is awesome! I love the way your jars look. Such pretty tags too.
    Thank you for linking to my website. I will be sure to return the favor soon!
    Have a wonderful week Elizabeth :)

    May 17, 2011 | Registered CommenterBrook Hurst Stephens

    Ooh! Look at how pretty and colorful this is! I just love it! It was fun to "meet" you today over at Twitter. Have a beautiful week!

    Katrina - thanks for posting. Hearing things like this make my day so much sweeter! Great to "meet" you too :)

    May 21, 2011 | Registered CommenterBrook Hurst Stephens

    This looks fantastic! In fact, I tried to recreate it myself yesterday, but I failed to boil until the liquid thickened, so it was still pretty juicy. I think I also had a super juicy grapefruit. The rhubarb got soft, but didn't break down like in your lovely photos. I did the water bath and the seals are good, but it's pretty sloshy in there. I plan on trying this again in a day or so with hopefully better results!

    I have to say the little I had left over that I didn't process in the water bath is AMAZING. I've mixed it with berries and yogurt so far. I'm really hoping to get a thicker consistency so that it's more spreadable like a jam...which might require me using some pectin.

    May 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNicole

    Hi Nicole.

    I'm sorry I am behind in responding to comments. I'm going to school again and I forgot how long homework takes!

    I am thrilled you decided to make this recipe. Sounds like you know why your preserves didn't set up - an extra juicy grapefruit. If you took the preserves to 220 degrees it might set up better, but sometimes it sets up much quicker and it isn't necessary to boil it that long. It sounds like you've made preserves before, so you know that every batch is different. Sometimes the preserves will firm up after sitting for a day or two in the jars, or even a week. Even if they are still "sloshy" after they sit for awhile, they'll still be delicious and you'll be the proud owner of some very AMAZING syrup (for pancakes, waffles, cocktail base, etc.)

    Please don't view this as a failure. It happens to the best of us. I am so glad you tried this recipe....putting it in yogurt sounds like a wonderful way to eat it too!!!

    June 7, 2011 | Registered CommenterBrook Hurst Stephens

    Is there anyway to cut back on the sugar by maybe adding fruit juice for some or all of the sugar?


    July 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCindy

    Hi Cindy,

    No there really isn't. If you use less sugar you will get different results. If you use fruit juice you will get MUCH different results. I don't recommend either of those options.

    Sugar does a lot more than just sweeten your jams. Its main function is to work with the pectin and fruit acids to form the gel structure we call "jam." Sugar acts as a preservative that helps maintain the beautiful colour of the fruit and inhibits mould growth.
    Always use the exact amount of sugar called for in the recipe. Reducing the amount of sugar will upset the balance of fruit, sugar and pectin needed to ensure the jam or jelly sets.

    Sugar should be spooned into a dry measuring cup, then leveled off with a knife to achieve the exact measurement.

    I'm sure this isn't the answer you wanted, but I hope this helps.

    Thanks for reading my blog.


    July 16, 2012 | Registered CommenterBrook Hurst Stephens
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