Strawberry Rhubarb Jam

As previously mentioned in my Mother’s Day post, this weekend my mom and I rolled up our sleeves, and got into the kitchen to cook some Strawberry Rhubarb Jam. With all the wonderful things my mom has taught me throughout the years it was nice to actually be able to teach her a thing or two. You see, even though my mom has a good handle on most everything in the kitchen, she has never in her life made homemade jam, let alone preserve anything in a jar. So it was a lot of firsts and a lot of fun.

Rhubarb is flourishing in New York this time of year, so when we traveled to the Union Square Greenmarket to pick some up, we were astounded by how much had already been purchased. I guess New Yorkers love their rhubarb! We were only left with a few bundles to choose from, but luckily they were all beautiful.

It’s always surprising to me that every time I see organic produce at the farmers’ market I find myself wondering, “Is this really blank, because it sure doesn’t look this way at the supermarket?” This was exactly the conversation my mother and I had as we were picking out our rhubarb. It’s pretty amazing how differently some things look when they aren’t commercially harvested. Of course, the rhubarb we picked was perfectly ripe and ready, and tasted rightly tart and tangy.

So before I share this really fabulous recipe, I thought I’d first give a little history about rhubarb since it’s one vegetable we don’t typically consume on a regular basis.

Rhubarb is most often referred to as a vegetable, but it was actually deemed a fruit in the 1940s, which resulted in a reduction of taxes paid on it. Rhubarb can be grown in two different ways—in hothouses and in fields. The rhubarb that is grown in hothouses is usually brighter in color and sweeter tasting than rhubarb that is cultivated. Something that a lot of people do not know is that the leaves from the rhubarb plant are actually poisonous, and if consumed can make you sick—so make sure to dispose of those leaves if they are still intact when you buy your rhubarb. There are many different varieties of rhubarb, but the domesticated variety that we most commonly recognize is called the Rheum x hybridum. Another interesting fact is that the roots of rhubarb are very often used in traditional Chinese medicine and have laxative properties.

Eating rhubarb raw is very unpleasant. It’s really sour and makes your face all funny. (I discovered this when I decided to taste a piece while we were prepping our jam. I didn’t take a picture, but you wouldn’t want to see it anyway.) This is why we usually pair it with sweeter tasting fruits such as strawberries, and cook it down into jams or pies. After all, who doesn’t love a good rhubarb strawberry pie?

Anyway, back to jam making. The process takes about 3 hours from prep to processing, as most jams do, so make sure you have some good tunes and someone fun to cook with. I opted for the Ronettes and my mom.

Strawberry and Rhubarb Jam:
Adapted from Canning For a New Generation by Liana Krissoff

Makes 4-5 half pint jars

2 lb rhubarb, trimmed of any soft area, cut into 1/2 inch cubes (about 6 cups)
1 lb rinsed and hulled strawberries, diced (3 cups)
2 C. white cane sugar
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

Begin by sterilizing your jars in a hot water bath canner. Additionally, place a small plate and 3 spoons in the freezer to test jam down the road. Lastly put your flat lids in a heat proof bowl for later when we process the jars.

Place your rhubarb, strawberries, sugar, and 1/2 C water in a preserving pan, or stainless steal pot. 6-8 quarts in size should do. Cook the mixture over medium-high heat, stirring frequently for about 10-15 minutes. The liquid from the fruit should just about cover the tops of your fruit in the pan. Pour into a colander set over a large heat proof bough and drain the juices. Give a few stirs with your spatula to make sure as much of the liquid is out as possible. Return the juice to the pan and bring to a boil over high heat. Boil, stirring occasionally, until the syrup reduces to about 1 1/2 cups. This should take about 20 minutes or so.

Return your drained fruit, and any remaining juices to the pan, along with your fresh squeezed lemon juice, and bring to a simmer. Simmer, stirring frequently for about 15 minutes, or until a small dab of the jam spooned onto your chilled plate becomes relatively firm. Skim off as much foam as you can, then remove from the heat and stir gently for a few minutes to distribute the fruit amongst the jam evenly.

Ladle boiling water from your canning pot, into the bowl with the lids. Then, lift and empty your jars from your hot water bath canner and place on a folded kitchen towel. Now drain the water off of your jar lids.

Fill each jar with the hot jam leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe the rims of your jars with a warm kitchen towel to remove any goopy jam that may have gotten onto it, and place your flat lids atop the jars. Screw your band onto the jar until just finger tight and return to the hot water bath canner. Process at a full boil for 5 minutes then return to your kitchen towel, and let sit for at least 12 hours. To check and make sure your seals took, press down on the top of your jars. If the top cannot be pushed down further, it has sealed; if not, refrigerate and eat within a few weeks.

Advertisements

6 Responses to “Strawberry Rhubarb Jam”


  1. 1 sara May 11, 2011 at 11:32 am

    this jam sounds lovely! i may have to get my mom to make a batch this summer.
    we used to have rhubarb in our backyard in my childhood home, and i looved eating it plain! the tartness of it was my favorite. i haven’t had it plain in a long long time so i don’t know if i would still like it, but i know i love it paired with sweet things in desserts!

  2. 2 Danielle May 11, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    When we were growing up we would eat stalks of rhubarb fresh from the plant. Sometimes we’d dip the end in sugar. Not sure I could do that now, but I do love a good tart rhubarb pie.

    Thanks for the recipe, I’ve been looking for a good strawberry rhubarb jam. 🙂

  3. 3 donna z May 11, 2011 at 7:51 pm

    Lovely to see you and your mom enjoying jam making–reminds me of my own family, although we couldn’t afford ball jelly jars. Instead we recycled other glass jars and my mom would pour about 1/2 inch of melted parafin wax over the top of the hot jam in the jar to form a seal.


  1. 1 Astoria Food Swap « Handjobs (For the Home) Trackback on May 24, 2011 at 12:56 am
  2. 2 jars « prairie in a little house Trackback on June 9, 2011 at 2:30 pm
  3. 3 It’s that time of the year… | From the Manor Trackback on July 22, 2011 at 12:25 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s





%d bloggers like this: