Strawberry Rhubarb Preserves Evoke Memories

A bolt of lightning knocked out the internet so blogging from my phone
Rhubarb says Spring to me.
When the three kids were younger, we’d pile in the car and drive 7 hours to New York City to visit my sister. I’d park in the lot by the pier on the Hudson and we’d make our way up the five floor walk-up to her apartment. Everyone would be asleep on the floor camping out and in the early morning, Aunt Mary would walk to Zito’s Bakery on Bleecker Street, come home with warm loaves. She’d have the butter out and a jar of her homemade strawberry rhubarb preserves. She’d slice the bread on a wooden board. That’s what the kids woke up to – warm bread and butter and strawberry rhubarb preserves-



Berenice Abbott took this photo of Zito’s in 1937.


Today I went to the Farmer’s market on the South Side and bought two bunches of rhubarb and fresh picked strawberries. I was trying to remember the method and chopped the stalks in one inch pieces, put them into a large enamel kettle and sprinkled with sugar to sit.

Added the strawberries and cooked it down. I wish it wasn’t so late and I could have called for the recipe. Just did it from memory.



The loaf from the Farmers Market on the bread board, a gift from my sister.


Postcard stamp on the back of Zito’s card a dime. I pulled it out of the frame tonight. Read what you wrote.

Before Matthew was born and he’s 33!


Kids grown up and gone but tonight as I taste the strawberry rhubarb preserves, I remember.

P.S. And to answer your question Mary, on the card-
I did get that assistantship and that’s how I was able to get hired at Pittsburgh Public Schools in 1989!

P.P.S. Zito’s is gone now.

17 thoughts on “Strawberry Rhubarb Preserves Evoke Memories

  1. Strawberries are the classic pairing but we’ve still got a bit before those come into season here. What I did have were some wild blueberries in the freezer from last season. I’d be worried if I were a strawberry, frankly. The competition here is stiff. And the result was a not too sweet jam that is delicious with some fresh ricotta on baguette or gently heated and drizzled over pancakes.

  2. I found your blog so moving, perhaps it’s because the mood reflective has taken over my thoughts at present as my beautiful daughter is set to marry shortly. She has a desire to create some extra special cookies for everyone to enjoy during the ceremony and reading you blog made me smile, thinking that maybe one day I will recreate that taste in order to be there on her special day once more 🙂

    Wonderful blog, thank you for sharing 🙂

  3. I love local bakeries, too many are going away. I also love rhubarb and strawberries.

  4. Ruth, this looks so delicious! It’s not a combination I’ve ever tried, but I’m here and willing if you have some spare 🙂 I love the tartness of rhubarb.

  5. I love strawberry & rhubarb anything. My neighbor has rhubarb & I cook it for her husband and myself. She’ll eat the strawberry & rhubarb pie. Pictures make me hungry for that bread & butter we had at Greenfield.

  6. Photo of Zito’s in 1937 – 5 cents a loaf for bread! Saw the tip of the Kerry Gold butter in later photo. I am going to forward this to Marian, She made a yummy rhubarb / strawberry dish this week!!!

  7. A lovely bit of history, told through food (and pictures). Amazing how our senses can recall things our minds can forget (until nudged).

  8. Oh I really liked reading this post I have fond rhubarb memories too. Is this something I can do in a crock pot? If so, if you get any extra time and can tell me the recipe, I would actually try to make that 👍

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