Rhubarb Sauce

So, you’ve decided to make yesterday’s rhubarb pie recipe, but you’ve realized you bought too much rhubarb.  What to do?  The answer:  Make rhubarb sauce.

Growing up, each summer, my mom made big batches of rhubarb sauce.  She kept some in the freezer, and we enjoyed it all summer long.  My sister and I would eat it for breakfast, and sometimes, it was a side for dinner.  Back then, we ate it like we did applesauce—on its own.

When I decided to make rhubarb sauce for the first time, I talked to both my mom and my grandma.  Equipped with no specific recipe, both just advised me to cook the stalks down with a bunch of sugar, some water, and a little strawberry gelatin mix for color.

Well, being the natural-food obsessor that I am (I’ve been reading Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma, and I cannot stop thinking about where my food comes from—yes, I realize how obnoxious I’ve become), I wanted to recreate my mom’s lovely pink rhubarb sauce without the gelatin.  Having just seen beautiful pints of strawberries at the farmers’ market, I thought that the addition of strawberries would enhance both the color and the flavor of the sauce.

Well, the sauce was a success.  Both the consistency and the flavor matched the sauce I grew up with.  This time around, however, I realized the potential of the sauce.  While I did eat most of it straight out of the jar, I also spooned it over vanilla ice cream and spread some on toast, and I know it would be great over pound cake with whipped cream.  Oh, the possibilities . . . 

Rhubarb Sauce

Adapted from Mother Breakwell, Grandma DeWall, and the Food Network


  • 2 pounds rhubarb, chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 pint strawberries, hulled and quartered
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice


  1. Combine water and sugar in a medium saucepan.  Place over medium-high heat.  Stir until sugar dissolves.
  2. Add rhubarb to saucepan.  Simmer uncovered for 20 minutes.
  3. Add strawberries and lemon juice.  Simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Use a potato masher to break up the fruit in the sauce.  Simmer until the sauce reaches desired consistency (about 5 minutes more).
  5. Allow sauce to cool and transfer to sterilized containers.
  6. Refrigerate for up to two weeks or freeze.

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