Tasting the Past – Rhubarb Preserve Jelly

The finished product: Opal's Rhubarb Preserve Jelly.

The finished product: Opal’s Rhubarb Preserve Jelly.

There is a bit of nostalgia attached to rhubarb. It might seem weird, but it takes me back to my childhood. I’ll always remember munching on sticks of rhubarb from my parents’ backyard while dipping them in a small bowl of sugar to offset the tartness.

I was quite excited when I stumbled upon this recipe in the wooden box. According to the writing on the card, this recipe is from Opal. I don’t know much about this Opal woman, but she seemed to have quite the sweet tooth. A copious amount of sugar is required for this jelly. No matter how you look at it, four cups is a lot of sugar!

Since this is a jelly, I was expecting to see pectin or gelatin in the recipe. I was quite surprised to that the recipe called for an actual pack of Jell-O. According to the recipe card, the owner of the wooden box (or Opal… who knows really), cherry flavoured Jell-O was the way to go. The flavour was underlined on the recipe card.

I tasted the concoction a couple of times while preparing it. The sweetness was slightly overwhelming. I had to do some tweaking.

I reached out to trusty Flavor Bible by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg for ideas. This book has come in handy countless times. It provides great insight on flavour combinations by listing the flavours and food that pair well with the given ingredient. It’s a must for any cook and a great way to get creative in the kitchen

For this recipe, I researched rhubarb and noticed that cinnamon; ginger and lemon go well together. I threw in approximate amounts of ground cinnamon and ginger and the zest of about half a lemon to add a bit more complexity to the flavor of the jelly.

I put the jelly to rest overnight in the fridge and tasted it on toast the next morning. As predicted, it was quite sweet. Honestly, not my favourite, but I’ll be putting it to good use. Alternatively, this jelly would be great with French toast or pancakes.

Chopped rhubarb.

Chopped rhubarb.


  • 5 cups of chopped rhubarb
  • 4 cups of sugar
  • 1 small package of Jell-O
  • Ground cinnamon to taste (optional)
  • Ground ginger to taste (optional)
  • Lemon zest (optional)


  • Cook and stir the chopped rhubarb and until cooked to mush (this is what was written on the recipe card).
  • Remove from heat and add small package of Jell-O (cherry, strawberry or raspberry), and stir until dissolved.
  • Pour into jelly glasses or jar and refrigerate.

2 thoughts on “Tasting the Past – Rhubarb Preserve Jelly

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