During the month of May, rhubarb begins to make an appearance on local dessert menus. This seasonal sighting reminds Joe to tell our family members that I purchase bundles of ‘red celery’ and eat the stalks raw. (This is a joke!)
Last Saturday, I attended the Collingswood Farmers' Market opener to find first batch strawberries. Springdale Farms had a selection of small strawberries that proved to be sweet with minimal hull and perfect for jamming. (The variety that are deep red all the way through.) Making my way through each vendor table, Flaim Farm’s crimson-colored stalks of rhubarb called me over. “Hey you! Take us home to make jam!” And that is exactly what I did.
Joe refuses to eat strawberry-rhubarb jam because of the rhubarb. Perhaps rhubarb deters the less adventurous eaters. My advice is to not reveal that rhubarb is part of the recipe - being mindful of food allergies, of course.
This jam recipe is one of my favorites. The rhubarb enhances the strawberry flavor and adds subtle tart notes. Delicious with yogurt, biscuits or straightaway.
yield: 3 pints
1 large lemon
2 pounds strawberries, hulled (roughly 1.5 quarts)
3/4 pound rhubarb, cut into approximately 3/8 cubes (roughly 3-4 stalks)
4 1/4 cups sugar
6 sanitized half-pint mason jars, lids and rings
Place a small dish (or two) into the freezer (for testing the jam consistency).
Squeeze the juice from the lemon. Put the seeds into a spice bag, and put the bag and juice into a preserving pan. Add the strawberries, and slice or mash them if they are large and firm. Add the rhubarb. Over low heat, simmer the contents until the rhubarb is tender, about 30 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat and add the sugar. Stir the mixture over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Raise the heat to medium-high and boil the jam, stirring and skimming off the foam, until a drop mounds in a chilled dish.*
Ladle the jam into pint or half-pint mason jars. Add lids and rings, and process the jars for 10 minutes in a boiling-water bath.
Recipe from Linda Ziedrich’s book, The Joy of Jams, Jellies, & Other Sweet Preserves: 200 Classic and Contemporary Recipes Showcasing the Fabulous Flavors of Fresh Fruits
Notes: If you do not wish to preserve the jam using a boiling-water bath, allow jars to cool to room temperature and store in the refrigerator. Jam will last for 1-2 weeks.
*Placing a small dish into the freezer will allow you to assess the consistency of the jam during the cooking process. After the sugar has been added and the jam has boiled for 6-7 minutes, remove the freezer dish and drop one spoonful of the jam on the dish to test doneness. I usually hold the dish vertically to see if the jam runs or mounds (gels) in place. You are looking for the jam to stay in place like a small, slightly thick puddle. As the jam cools in the jars, it will continue to thicken.