Full disclosure: I’m a BIG jam/jelly/preserves guy. There’s a constant rotation of 5 to 6 different fruit spreads in my refrigerator at all times. I don’t play favorites – you can find apricot preserves, plum jelly, tomato jelly and raspberry jalapeño jam at the moment. However, I couldn’t stay away from the newest prized possession: strawberry rhubarb preserves.
Growing up, I always wanted to be different. When asked what kind of pie I wanted, I didn’t say peach or apple — I wanted strawberry rhubarb.
I can still smell the aroma floating through the house when the pie was cooking and feel the warmth of the oven on my forehead as I impatiently waited for the timer to go off. I can see the steam coming off my slice when I poured heavy cream into my bowl and feel the flakiness of the crust as I bit through each buttery layer.
My Grandma Reinhardt always supported me in my food adventures — picking mulberry’s off her tree in the back yard for smoothies, helping my sisters and I clean up her kitchen after our version of Food Network’s “Chopped.” Grandma Reinhardt introduced me to strawberry rhubarb pie and constantly brings it back around just because she knows it’s my favorite. When I saw the strawberry rhubarb spread sitting on display in Dillons, I couldn’t help myself from grabbing a jar of memories.
The jar of memories did not disappoint.
I paired the spread with flat, hard pretzels and goat cheese, which happened to be the perfect combination. The gamey-ness of the goat cheese cuts perfectly through the sweetness of the strawberry and the tartness of the rhubarb.
It took me to the same place that Remy from Pixar’s “Ratatouille” goes when he eats strawberry and cheese together, causing fireworks in the background. For me, instead of fireworks, I saw myself pouring the heavy cream that cut through the powerful chunks of strawberry and rhubarb in the pie.
The pretzels provide a much-needed texture break — also a serving tool to get heaps of cheese and spread onto my palate. Like the goat cheese, the pretzels took me back to flakey pie crust holding interiors together.
For the actual spread, Murray’s crushed it. Strawberry rhubarb is a naturally powerful flavor, and Murray’s version is the same. While pies I’ve had have chunks of both plants, this spread is smooth like most jams and jellies are, but it isn’t something that is missed. The spread is almost exactly like a pie filling, which I think is what makes me love it so much.
This charcuterie classic would be a great holiday idea for that person looking to expand their culinary boundaries and definitely gets my stamp of approval. I hardly give anything a perfect rating, but seeing as my 10-ounce jar is almost gone in just a couple weeks, I would give Murray’s strawberry rhubarb preserves a 10 out of 10.