Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Preparing for Winter

Yes summer hasn't started yet and I'm getting ready for winter. Last week I froze one packet of spinach which I know isn't much, but it was a start. This week I've been doing more. Since one of my rhubarb plants came out, I used all the stalks to make rhubarb butter. A couple years ago I made this but it had a lot of sugar. I wanted something that had no more than a teaspoon of added sugar per serving of two tablespoons. Last years recipe had about three teaspoons of added sugar per serving. Sugar is something I've been trying to reduce to get well again. I'm at the point where I'm OK adding a bit of sugar, but not to the degree of a typical jam.

Personally I think it tastes really good. But my tastes have changed. When I make jam or butter, I tend to share them with my neighbors during the holidays. Will they like the more tart butter? Or will they dislike it? I think when I make strawberry jam (and it looks like it will be a good harvest of strawberries this year), I might make two batches. A small one for me and a bigger one for the neighbors.

Tart Rhubarb Butter

  • 2 1/2 lbs rhubarb
  • 2/3 c sugar
  • 1/3 c OJ concentrate
  • 1/4 c water
  • 1 T cinnamon

Wash and chop the rhubarb into small pieces. Hopefully yours are redder than mine so your butter won't look like puke. Mine tastes good and is productive, but not all that pretty. Put it all into a large pan. I used a huge monster frying pan because it cooks down really really fast that way and I don't slave over a hot stove as long. Cook as long as it takes to get to the thickness you like. It will thicken up a bit, but this is not a jam and won't set like one. You have to boil out the water to make it thick. Transfer it to a smaller pan and use an immersion blender to puree it into a smooth butter. If it still isn't thick enough cook it down some more. Can it in a hot water bath for 15 minutes. Or at least that is how long I did it for. Rhubarb butter is not something on the USDAs list of things they have tested in their canning. 10 minutes is probably enough as that is the time for apple butter, but stewed rhubarb is 15 so I gave it that.

Today I'm dehydrating some sage. The sage is all in bud right now. Supposedly herbs are best picked before they bloom. I've done it both ways, but I needed to cut this one back anyway as it was starting to take over. Tomorrow I'll do another batch until I've gotten rid of most of the sage buds.

I'm going to leave the one in the herb circle though as I can see it from my kitchen window and it will be pretty. I don't think I need so much sage right now as to have to chop all the flowers off. I don't mind collecting some after blooming time. My chives are in bud too, but I only harvest chives when I want them for something. I've never dried them.


  1. I have never tried rhubarb butter, but it sounds tasty. It will be a year or two before we have enough rhubarb for processing into something like that. And I hear what you're saying about the color of the green stem types. I like to make stewed rhubarb, and the green Victoria turns into a rather unappetizing color, but it sure tastes good!

    Lately I've been freezing spinach for the winter and my wife has been freezing asparagus. I'm thinking about freezing some of the kale, just because we have a lot at the moment. It's so nice to have green veggies in the freezer.

  2. Not sure if this will show up twice (LOL, still setting up my new computer so wasn't signed in properly). Just wanted to say that my rhubarb usually cooks to that same icky colour even with it seems reddish on the stalks. But still tasty!

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  4. Rhubarb butter? That sounds awesome! Pinning! Your herb circle looks rockin!

  5. I don;t make jams as it has so much sugar which we try to keep consumption low too - we tend to eat fruit on the tart side.

  6. My one attempt at rhubarb was a fail. I've been told (often) that I'm missing out on awesomeness so maybe I'll try again sometime.

    We're drying herbs and freezing greens. Next week we'll set aside asparagus to freeze.

    It's never too early to start thinking about winter. :)

  7. I'm wincing at the thought of the tart Rhubarb Butter! But Rhubarb Tart though, that's an OK long as it is served with plenty of custard.

  8. I had the same experience when I cut most of the sugar out of my diet, now I don't like things too sweet and I really enjoy just the natural sweetness and flavor of fruit and other foods as well. I haven't attempted a low sugar use for rhubarb yet though, I guess inspiration just hasn't struck. We don't eat jam or fruit butters or desserts very often, so
    I need to think of something savory to use it in.

  9. I've never acquired a taste for rhubarb, but if I did, I would probably enjoy the less sweet version...I generally gravitate to tart when I have a choice.

    My chives are just starting to bud too, but nothing on the sage yet - I think it's still concentrating on putting on some nice growth in an attempt to recover from this past winter.