Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Strawberry Rhubarb Jam

As promised, I got back in the kitchen and made more jam. I can't help myself. It's addictive. This time I decided to make a strawberry rhubarb jam. I had some leftover strawberries that may not have made it the rest of the week, and I have rhubarb growing in the back garden. Seemed like destiny to me.


Fresh rhubarb

Strawberries and rhubarb

I'm learning a lot as I go. For instance, did you know that pectin is the chemical that makes jam gel? Without it--or without enough of it--jam is really runny. Pectin is a natural ingredient found in fruit. Apples, plums, berries and citrus peels are very high in pectin. When I made my last jam I didn't need to add any additional pectin because I added orange peel. This strawberry rhubarb jam wouldn't have enough natural pectin to gel, so I added some. You can usually find pectin in the baking aisle of the grocery store.

Powdered pectin

I used David Leibovitz's recipe as a base, but changed it slightly to better meet my needs. I used strawberries instead of mixed berries; gave equal weight to both the rhubarb and strawberries; and added pectin. I weighed my strawberries and then just picked that amount of rhubarb. It made slightly more than one jar.

Strawberry rhubarb jam

Stirring the jam

Recipe adapted from here
  • 7 ounces rhubarb, trimmed and sliced into 1/2 pieces
  • 7 ounces strawberries, slightly mashed
  • 2 ounces water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • a squeeze of lemon juice
  • a tiny pinch of salt
  • a teaspoon of pectin*
Put rhubarb, berries and water in a pot. Cook covered, stirring frequently over moderate heat, until the rhubarb is cooked through and thoroughly tender. It should take about 15 minutes.

Add the sugar, lemon juice and salt. Bring to roiling boil (where the boil doesn't break even when you stir) and add pectin. Cook for at least one minute longer. Jam should be around 220F or should pass the wrinkle test.**

Ladle into sterilized jars (see how here) and keep in fridge.

Homemade jam

I am completely obsessed with this jam. It's SO GOOD!! It's sweet, but perfect. And trust me, it makes the BEST peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

Now that I'm on a roll, I don't think I can stop. It's a sickness. I might even be back later this week with more jam. I wish I were kidding.

*I am new at using pectin so I started with a teaspoon and waited to see what happened. It seemed to be the right amount, but it will depend on the fruit you're using. Don't be afraid to experiment a bit to get the texture you want.

**The freezer test: put a plate in the freezer. When jam is close to done, put a small amount on the cold plate and return it to the freezer for a few minutes. If the jam wrinkles when moved, it's done.

See my other jam-making exploits here:

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