April 23, 2015

Strawberry Rhubarb Sauce with Mrs. Wheelbarrow + Giveaway!

Mrs. Wheelbarrow's Practical Pantry | The Naptime Chef

I’ve been wanting to feature my friend Cathy’s book, Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Practical Pantry: Recipes and Techniques for Year Round Preserving for some time now, but I had to wait until spring. Why? Because I am finally using up my remaining frozen strawberries and rhubarb from last fall and want to feature her amazing Strawberry Rhubarb Sauce. Also, Cathy’s book WON the 2015 IACP Single Subject Cookbook Award so now I can officially brag about that for her. (There is even a new beauty mark on the cover!) Congratulations, Cathy!

You all know how much I love preserving and Cathy does too. In fact, Cathy has written this beautiful book for us home preservers. In it she shares her infinite knowledge about home preserving and everything in between. This week Cathy and I had a little chat about her book and she graciously allowed me to share her sauce recipe. If you want to see this book for yourself don’t forget to enter the giveaway below!

Mrs. Wheelbarrow's Strawberry Rhubarb Sauce | The Naptime Chef


1) Most people think of preserving as incredibly difficult and intimidating. Your book does a great job of demystifying the process and encouraging anyone/everyone to get in the kitchen and do it! What is the first step you take in encouraging someone to get in the kitchen and give preserving a try?

I always tell cooks new to preserving, “Make something you love.” It might be apricot jam or dill pickles, bacon or sour cream. Once you make it yourself and realize how delicious and how easy it is, I predict you’ll never go back. Once you’re enjoying that apricot jam, the idea of making raspberry jam doesn’t seem so farfetched! And that’s how I am an enabler. I want everyone to start preserving food. And I know that my pantry is pretty expansive (or crazy) — there’s no need to go that far! Maybe it’s just one jam recipe, one pickle recipe and a few jars of tomatoes. That’s the way to get started.

2) Preserving is fun, but eating is fun too! How often do you dig into your pantry and enjoy your wares? I personally find that sometimes it can be a little sad to eat everything because you know how much work has gone into it.

I definitely use what’s on the pantry shelves, and that was important to me as I wrote the book, too. So many people get into canning but forget to use what they’ve put in the jars! I use something from the pantry at least once a day, whether that’s the butter and jam on my morning toast, the pickles and tuna fish I enjoy for lunch, the yogurt and granola that’s my afternoon snack, or the smoked turkey and pasta dinner I whip up over and over.

3) Your recipes range from standbys to complex and utterly unique. How do you come up with new ideas and flavors for preserved foods?

Divine inspiration? Haha! I honestly don’t know where the ideas come from, but there are some recipes I become obsessed with. A great example would be the smoked oyster recipe in the book. I used to eat tinned smoked oysters with my mother when I was a little girl. It was a special treat and a taste memory I can dream about. That recipe took more than 30 iterations before I captured the taste I was seeking. I chased the sweet flavor (was it brown sugar? honey? molasses?) and the salty (it was the soy sauce that finally made it sing!)

4) I am looking for a fun behind-the-scenes story here. Is there any preserve recipe you’ve tried to make but it just won’t work out no matter what? (Other than the foods we know you can’t preserve?) 

I can’t make marmalade to save my life. At least not one I like. I’ve burned more batches of marmalade than I would like to admit. I’ve also struggled with making vinegar from scratch: trying to create my own “mother.” I’m getting better at the vinegar. I’ve abandoned marmalade altogether.

5) My confession: I won’t make my own marinated artichoke hearts because the thought of trimming all those artichokes makes me want to cry. Do you have any confession in a similar vein?

The prep work is really the hardest part of preserving most anything. I want to convince you to do it, Kelsey! Those artichokes are so awesome. Don’t think you have to trim 50 artichokes! You can start with 8 or 12. And then hoard the jars.

Here’s my big confession. I can’t stand bread and butter pickles.

6) What is next for you now that we all have this book. I think we all need to raid your pantry so you can come up with more recipes and write the next volume!

I’m having such a great time writing a regular DIY column for the Washington Post, working on some magazine articles and playing in my garden, I hope your readers will look for links to new recipes on Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Kitchen, my Facebook page.

In the meantime, I’m researching a subject close to my heart — the historic foodways and modern producers of the Chesapeake region.

Strawberry Rhubarb Sauce

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 4 pints

This sauce is delicious when warmed up and poured over yogurt, ice cream, cheese, or porridge. It also would taste great with pork chops or ham. When I use it straight from the fridge it is just thick enough to be drizzled over spongey bread. The bread soaks up the sauce and make a great snack or breakfast.

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  • 4 pints (about 8 cups) strawberries, rinsed, hulled, and quartered
  • 3 pounds (about 5 cups) rhubarb, rinsed and cut into ½-inch dice
  • 5 cups granulated sugar
  • Juice of 3 lemons
  • Star Anise (optional - I don't like the flavor so I didn't add it)


  1. 1. Add the berries to a large bowl and mash them with a masher or wooden spoon. Stir in the rhubarb, sugar, lemon juice, and star anise (if using). Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the mixture macerate for 4 hours, or up to 1 day.
  2. 2. Transfer the mixture to a large saucepan and bring to a vigorous boil. Stir constantly for about 20 to 25 minutes until the sauce thickens to the consistency of ketchup. You are not looking for it to gel.
  3. 3. Discard the star anise, if used, and carefully ladle the sauce into clean pint jars, leaving ½-inch headspace. If preserving, process the sauce for 15 minutes in a water bath. If not, store the sauce in the refrigerator when not using.


adapted from Mrs. Wheelbarrow's Practical Pantry, with permission.


To enter to win a copy of Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Practical Pantry:

1) Leave a comment sharing your favorite fruity dessert sauce!

2) Follow Kelsey Banfield on Facebook.

3) Contest runs from April 16th through April 23rd. Winner will be announced in the April 24th newsletter.

12 Responses to “Strawberry Rhubarb Sauce with Mrs. Wheelbarrow + Giveaway!”

  1. Meghan Finley says:

    I love huckleberry sauce

  2. Meghan Finley says:

    I follow you on facebook

  3. Christina C says:

    strawberry syrup!
    (I’m a FB follower!)

  4. miranda says:

    I love strawberry sauce

  5. miranda says:

    FB follower

  6. bill says:

    I like blueberry maple syrup

  7. gary says:

    any sauce with raspberries is my favorite

  8. gary says:

    I am a Facebook follower

  9. Karen Lynch says:

    I love the Apple Compote from Dahlia Bakery cookbook. Its like apple pie and is so wonderful over yogurt.

  10. Karen Lynch says:

    I follow Kelsey on Facebook.

  11. Marsha Lynne says:

    Favorite fruit sauce strawberries with a little lemon zest and a little orange juice over homemade vanilla ice cream

  12. Helaine says:

    Strawberry sauce is my fav.