Sunday, 27 May 2012

How to Burn Rhubarb Jam

Ahh good to be back. I've been on hiatus for a couple of weeks, but I swear not out of laziness. Things have been busy.

The weather has been absolutely beautiful here, so I've been spending a lot of time in my garden beds. I fell off the training wagon for a bit, so this week I've been slowly and painfully climbing back on (why, hello, Advil.) I also took a trip to Bar Harbour, Maine, and did some mountain climbing for the first time. Its been a busy three weeks.

The beautiful spring weather has brought a lovely crop of rhubarb, so I harvested some of it a couple of days ago and attempted to make a jam.

Berlin, my cat, is stalking through this tangle of rhubarb.

I love the thought of making my own jam. My family goes through so much of it. I've always held back from making it though - I've only made jam once before, years ago, and it was a lot of effort for results that were just meh. I figured my canning skills were ... lacking. My confidence was restored last weekend when I was at a birthday party, and my brother-in-law's mother said "No. Anyone can make jam." Huh. Well, ok then.

So I went for it. The recipe was as follows:

3 pounds rhubarb
4 cups sugar
lemon juice, to taste

Step One:
Cut off the leaves. Wash the rhubarb and cut into 1/2 inch pieces. Put the sugar and rhubarb into a large glass bowl and cover. Place in the refrigerator for 24-48 hours, coming back to stir the mixture gently a couple of times.

Step Two:
Pour the mixture into a large, heavy bottomed pot. Using high heat, bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. My cooking time was a little over half an hour. The last bit of cooking time, add the lemon juice in to taste.

Note: When stirring, stir gently. The rhubarb falls apart easily. Also, when nearing the end of the cooking time, it will start to stick to the bottom, so be wary. (Mine stuck to the bottom, and I made the mistake of scraping it back up. It turned the batch a brown color, which was disappointing. It smelled a little burned at first, but luckily did not seem to affect the flavor, though. Its delicious.)

Step Three:
Ladle the jam into your jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe down rim, and screw on lids. Process for 10 minutes.

My jam is wonderful, albeit a little discolored. I most definitely have not gone to the fridge and eaten a spoonful of it.

Actually, yes. Yes, I have.

So in my delight at producing a tasty jam, I now have jam fever. I turned my sad attempt at a vegetable garden I started three years ago (I order my veggies from a local farmer now, so no need to grow my own- I'll leave it to the professionals) into a strawberry patch. I look forward to making -and not burning- some strawberry jam.

Stay tuned for more adventures in jam. Wish me luck.

Strawberry Patch: The Beginning.

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