Rhubarb is something people love, hate, or have never tried.
Personally, I think it's great and I always want something rhubarby when it starts getting getting warm and springy outside.
Strawberry rhubarb pie is one of my favorites, but it's not something one has lying around all the time. Jam can be another story...
I promise this will last longer than the pie, and it's great on toast, pound cake, plain yogurt, and ice cream.
I don't really know about other jam recipes, but this one doesn't take all that long to make. Last week I was planning to make it and had all the ingredients, but I just could not wait- it was something I really wanted with breakfast so I got out of bed, made jam, and had some toast.
It makes plenty of jam (for me it's more than the recipe says- about 7 jars) and will last several months in the fridge without officially having to can it. Or, if you prefer, it's a very nice thing to be able to share...
Just be careful not to keep jam in your carry on when you travel. It most certainly will be confiscated. Right, Marie?
Make sure you peel most, if not all, of the outer stringy red layer from the rhubarb. Be careful as the rhubarb usually sprays a little red juice when you do this (I would not recommend wearing white while performing this procedure). The larger the rhubarb, the tougher the strings AND the leaves are toxic (for all rhubarb), so make sure you get rid of those.
Instead of having to buy pectin to help the jam set, this recipe uses a more natural approach (not that pectin isn't natural, this recipe does not make use of commercially available isolated pectin). Apple juice is used (for the original) to help thicken the jam, but I also add apple slices while it cooks (to help augment the apple juice). I fish the pieces of apple out before putting jam into jars. Still, it makes a soft jam- probably more of a jam/compote than what most would classify as jam.
I would have liked it a little thicker, but according to Mick Jagger and moms everywhere, you can't always get what you want.
Next time I'll have to cook it a little longer- and no, I did not use a thermometer this time. If using the "wrinkle test" you'll want to make sure to look for a stiff wrinkle (I'm sorry, that does not sound so appetizing for jam...).
Adapted from David Lebovitz
makes 5- 1 c (250 ml) jars
3 lb. fresh rhubarb, trimmed and sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
2 c packed, mixed berries, fresh or frozen
1 c water or apple juice
a couple slices fresh apple
juice of one lemon
pinch of salt
(optional: 1 T kirsch)
In a large pot mix the rhubarb, berries, apple slices (if using) and juice or water. Cook, covered, stirring frequently over moderate heat until rhubarb is cooked through and thoroughly tender. This should take about 15 minutes. Place a small plate in the freezer.
Add sugar, lemon juice, and salt, and continue to cook uncovered. Skim and discard any foam that rises to the top. Cook until jam is thick and passes the wrinkle test* (for me this takes about 10-15 minutes).
Stir in the kirsch if using, spoon jam into clean jars and cover. Store jam in the refrigerator.
Jam will last several months in the fridge without officially being "canned" as it's somewhat preserved with all the sugar- but if you know how and would like to can it, it will definitely last even longer...
*For the wrinkle test, place a small spoonful of jam onto the frozen plate. Return to freezer and check a few minutes later. If the jam wrinkles when nudged, it's done! OR you could use a thermometer as jam will gel at approximately 220F.