How Sweet It Is!
Strawberry Rhubarb is my most popular jam. All three of my “in-law” kids request it. I’ve given it to many people as gifts with bread or muffins. I think the popularity is partly because of the sweet/sour combo of the berries and the rhubarb.
If you’re not familiar with rhubarb, it’s very common in the Midwest and once you get it started, it spreads and comes up each year. The leaves are poison, but the reddish-green stock is very edible. As a child we used to dip the raw stalk in a bowl of sugar and eat it that way. Now I put it in desserts and jams.
I have a friend who lives on a small farm and he has more rhubarb than he could ever use, so he invites his friends to come and harvest what they want each spring. We do. Then we clean it and cut it into small chunks and put into freezer baggies, two cups at a time. Most recipes call for using two or four cups, so this works quite well. When I have time to make the jam, I’m all set.
As for the strawberries, if I’m making jam in June or July I use the fresh ones. After that I buy the frozen berries that are already hulled and sliced. So easy!
Please refer to my blog from November 9, 2011 about “Tips for making jams and jellies” if this is your first foray into the world of jams. http://www.nanaclareskitchen.com/2011/11/09/tips-about-making-jams-and-jellies/
2 cups thinly sliced rhubarb
2 cups sliced strawberries
2 TBS lemon juice
¼ tsp salt
1 ¾ ounce package powdered fruit pectin. (I use Sure Jell)
5 ½ cups sugar (don’t skimp on this or the jam will be runny.)
• Combine rhubarb, strawberries, lemon juice, salt and pectin in a very large (six quart) heavy saucepan.
• Cook on medium heat and stir until it comes to a fast boil.
• Add sugar all at once and stir to blend. Make sure all the sugar is mixed in and that there is no sugar clinging to the side of the saucepan as this could cause sugaring.
• Bring to a full rolling boil and boil for one minute. Remove from heat
• Take hot clean jars out of dishwasher and ladle jam into the jars.
• Makes six or seven cups of jam. I use jars of different sizes, so my results vary.
The strawberry rhubarb jam sets up in about an hour, but it’s fully set in a day, if you can wait that long. Smear strawberry rhubarb jam on hearty breads, pancakes, muffins or waffles.