Springtime brings more fresh produce to market as seasonal items become more readily available. One of the signals of spring, at least for me, is the appearance of a new harvest of vibrantly red fresh rhubarb. That means I can make my family-famous Red Rhubarb-Blood Orange Marmalade.
Almost any family cookbook will have a recipe for old-fashioned rhubarb something or other: rhubarb pie, rhubarb crumble, rhubarb crisp or rhubarb jam. Red Rhubarb-Blood Orange Marmalade is a bit more unusual and contemporary.
Because the blood oranges and red rhubarb are short seasoned, my Red Rhubarb-Blood Orange Marmalade has become a much-anticipated classic family tradition that I usually dole out around Easter. (I have tried giving the recipe to family members on recipe cards, but I still end up making batches every year!)
Red Rhubarb-Blood Orange Marmalade is very simple to make. Two spring favorites are combined to make a beautiful tart and tangy spread reminiscent of old country marmalades:
Red Rhubarb-Blood Orange Marmalade
4 cups diced fresh rhubarb (about one pound)
2 cups granulated sugar
¼ cup water
½ cup blood orange juice with pulp
2 teaspoons grated orange zest
In a saucepan, combine diced rhubarb with sugar and water. Stir well to dissolve sugar. Add orange juice and orange zest, stirring again. Bring to a boil, and then cook slowly over low heat approximately 45 minutes to an hour. Stir occasionally to check for thickness as liquid evaporates. (When it is thick enough, the mixture should feel resistant to the spoon as you stir.)
When the Red Rhubarb-Blood Orange Marmalade has thickened sufficiently, let cool slightly and ladle into sterilized containers (snap-lock style containers are okay if jam is stored in refrigerator and consumed within a few days).
Warning! Red Rhubarb-Blood Orange Marmalade can be habit forming, so know that it won’t be around long as family members sneak into the kitchen for just one more taste of that tart zingy flavor on toast, bread slices, or muffins.
Funny how that vegetable stuff I used to think was poisonous red celery can help my family really enjoy spring! Maybe your family will enjoy it, too.