Rhubarb-Strawberry Sauce

2 pounds rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths
4 cups hulled, halved strawberries
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
finely grated zest of 1 orange
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

Combine all the ingredients in a heavy saucepan. Stir well and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring once and skimming off any foam that forms on top, until the rhubarb is just tender, 10 to 12 minutes.

Remove the vanilla bean and let the mixture cool to room temperature.

Place in clean containers (note: if freezing, the containers must be freezer-proof; leave 1-inch head space to allow for expansion), cover, and refrigerate or freeze. The sauce will keep for two days in the refrigerator, or up to 6 months in the freezer. Makes about 8 cups.

— Recipe adapted from: "The New Basics Cookbook," by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins.

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