Friday, June 18, 2010

Strawberry Rhubarb Jam

 It's hard to believe that it's already time to start preserving the harvest!  All my summer crops are not yet even in the garden!!  (Note to self:  YIKES!)  I love to preserve foods that we grow in our garden, purchase from local farmers, or were kindly given from great friends (thanks for the rhubarb, Ann!!).  Yesterday, I was all about strawberry jams.  Two kinds - the regular sugary sweetness variety,

 and a juice sweetened strawberry rhubarb variety.

I am a geek.  (Yes, I just admitted this in public.)  I love numbers and patterns.  And rows of home canned goods lining the counters, table tops, floors, shelves,...  Those rows of yummy foods sealed in jars awaiting the cold, drab winter months makes me so very happy.  Yes, it's work.  But it's work I like doing.

I've been trying to perfect the strawberry rhubarb jam recipe, and I think I've come darn close this year.  It is a bit softer than standard jams - more like a thick sauce consistency.  So, if you are going to make it, and prefer a more traditional texture, up the amount of pectin a bit.

Strawberry Rhubarb Jam   (yields about 11 half-pints)

4 large stalks rhubarb, cut into 1 inch pieces - 2 cups cooked sauce
1 1/2 qts. strawberries - 3 cups crushed berries
1/4 cup lemon juice
4 1/2 cups of your favorite sweet juice (I've used apple juice concentrate or white grape juice)
1 pack of Pomona's Pectin (you will use the entire packet of pectin)
1/4 cup of the calcium water that comes with the pectin box.

Put all the rhubarb into a large pot, and cook it until it makes a nice sauce, about 10 minutes.  Meanwhile, clean the strawberries and crush them up either with a masher, your hands, or food processor.  When the rhubarb is sauce-ish, measure 2 cups of it.  Put it back into the pot along with the crushed strawberries, lemon juice, 3 cups of the juice, and the calcium water.  Bring all that to a boil.  (Basically from here on out, you are following the directions for the low/no sugar versions of jam on the Pomona's box.  But I will summarize them here so you know what you're getting into if you've never used that wonderful product before.)

While that is coming to a boil, heat the rest of the juice to a boil, dump it into a blender with the pectin powder, and blend for 1-2 minutes until smooth.  Put that mixture into the boiling jam.  Stir it in and bring to a boil again.

Now can your jam according to the proper canning directions.  Then sit back and stare at the jars for way too long.

No comments: