Ten-minute Rhubarb Vanilla Conserve

by Laura on May 12, 2011

Thirteen years ago, during the first spring in our house, I discovered that you could make a simple rhubarb conserve in less than ten minutes.  We’ve come to call it a refrigerator preserve, since there isn’t a high heat canning process involved, and the springtime jars vanish from our refrigerator so quickly it would be pointless to undertake one.  It’s small batch preserving at its best, just a bouquet of rhubarb, a vanilla bean, and a handful of sugar, deceptively simple and almost too easy and good to be true.  I’ve seen similar recipes since (and recently), but mine calls for far less sugar and a shorter cooking time.  It will be done and waiting, soft and rosy, in a jar in less than half the time it takes a batch of scones t0 emerge from the oven, and a third of the time it takes to cook a pot of old fashioned oatmeal.   Stir some into custard or yogurt, smear it on toast, on biscuits sweet or savory, on scones, between cake layers, or dollop it over ice cream—and then walk to the rhubarb patch (or your market) and make some more.  It’s a wonderful spring staple.


{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sarah May 12, 2011 at 12:38 pm

I LOVE rhubarb, and this recipe looks like the perfect way to use up any extra you have (it always comes in such a large bunch!). Can’t wait to try!

2 Laura May 12, 2011 at 5:15 pm

Hope you like it!

3 Lanell May 13, 2011 at 12:23 am

I just made Rhubarb bread and this would go nicely with it. I love it toasted with butter best of all. I love Rhubarb and can’t wait to try a couple more recipes while it is in season. Thanks for posting this great recipe. I’m anxious to give it a try.

4 Deanna May 13, 2011 at 6:52 am

I love rhubarb – formerly from Iowa where we had a lot. I live in Florida now and it doesn’t grow where I’m at – so sad! I’ll have to track some down to make this recipe!

5 Laura May 13, 2011 at 7:46 am

Ooh, rhubarb bread sounds good, too.

6 Laura May 13, 2011 at 7:47 am

Hope you like the recipe if you find some!

7 judi May 13, 2011 at 10:05 am

Rhubarb is almost ready to use in my garden – always looking for new ways to try it and this sounds yummy. Is it possible to substitute pure vanilla extract for the vanilla bean, do you think? And with a diabetic husband – what about using ‘Splenda’ instead of the sugar? Sorry – not making this easy for you, am I?

8 Laura May 13, 2011 at 10:24 am

I think you could add a dribble of vanilla extract, or you could skip it, too. It’s delicious plain, too. As for the Splenda, I’ve never used an artificial sweetener before, but I would guess that if you follow the package guidelines for substitution ratios, that it would work just fine. The sugar in the recipe serves chiefly as a sweetener, and the fruit doesn’t need much help in the way of breaking down, so I don’t think you’ll have an issue. Hope it turns out!

9 judi May 13, 2011 at 10:58 am

Thanks Laura – I’ll give it a try :)

10 Michelle VT May 13, 2011 at 11:02 am

Rhubabrb is such an underappriciatred vegetable. I have a nice crop of rhubarb this year, just made 3 crisps with it… one more week and I should be able to make this. I am not sure what I like better, the delicious way it sounds or the perfect pink blush color. Thanks for sharing this. My seven year old daughter and I will gobble this up in no time!

11 Laura May 13, 2011 at 11:04 am

You’re welcome!

12 Laura May 13, 2011 at 11:05 am

I agree, especially as it’s one of my favorite foods. It is quite pretty, isn’t it. Hope you like it!

13 Leanne @ Healthful Pursuit May 13, 2011 at 11:39 am

This is my first time visiting, and I love it! I was so happy to see rhubarb for the first time last week. Oh how I missed it! I’ve already made strawberry rhubarb ice cream, crumble, and pudding… but I hadn’t thought to make a conserve! I bet this is just delicious.

14 krisannjacobson May 14, 2011 at 9:21 am

gorgeous photos

15 Laura May 14, 2011 at 9:57 am

Thank you, Kris. xo

16 Laura May 14, 2011 at 9:59 am

Thank you, Leanne. It’s one of my favorite ways to eat rhubarb, especially since it’s so quick to make.

17 Laura May 14, 2011 at 10:00 am

Michelle VT, I agree. And I hope you like it!

18 Kaytee May 13, 2012 at 9:42 pm

Some neighbors we have never met before kindly gave us a bag of fresh rhubarb while on a walk tonight (how kind is that?). I am excited to try this recipe with our gifted rhubarb! Can you tell me how long this will keep refrigerated since it isn’t “canned”. And maybe in the freezer too?

19 Laura May 13, 2012 at 9:53 pm

Kaytee, Lucky you! It will keep for a week, perhaps even two if your refrigerator is quite cold. I’ve never frozen it before, but I suspect up to six months in the freezer would be fine. Hope you enjoy the conserve!

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