Rhubarb Jam

I don’t know if you knew this, but it is already rhubarb season! To me that screams strawberry rhubarb pie. I LOVE strawberry rhubarb pie, it is by far my favorite pie, even including lemon meringue. Like to the point where I could probably eat an entire pie in one sitting. You may think I am kidding but I am not. I really love pie.

Unfortunately that doesn’t exactly mesh with my weight-loss goals. Or in my male friend’s words “toning goals.”

So while I was sitting by and watching my friends make strawberry rhubarb pie and posting all of their delicious pictures on facebook. I decided to make jam. Thanks to the lovely idea by my co-worker.

This idea was a little intimidating, I mean there are all sorts of important rules and scary things that can happen (like botulism…yikes!) if a recipe isn’t made correctly.

I have made freezer jam before and that is super easy. But I didn’t really know if I could do that with rhubarb. So I decided to try  making canned  jam. Thankfully because of my culinary hoarding ways I only had to buy the jars and the rhubarb.

I got the recipe from Leite’s Culinaria. But I cut the amount in half because this is my first time canning and I didn’t want to be stuck with several cans of jam if I didn’t like it.

I do like this recipe. I think next time I will try using a orange instead of a lemon, just to see what it tastes like; and I will use less sugar. The recipe isn’t sweet, but it definitely isn’t tart like rhubarb. I like my rhubarb to be tart.

I love the soft pink color of the jam

Rhubarb Jam

makes 1 1/2 pints or 3 half pints

Ingredients

1 1/2 pounds rhubarb, trimmed, rinsed, and cut into small chunks
1 1/2 cups sugar
2/3 cups water
1/2 lemon,  juiced, seeds reserved in a cheesecloth pouch or tea ball

Directions

  1. Sterilize the jars for canning by boiling them and their lids. Place a small plate in the freezer. So you can test to see if the jam is done later.
  2. Put the fruit, sugar, water, and lemon juice, spent halves, and seeds (they provide the necessary pectin) in a large bowl and set aside at room temperature for 1 hour. Remember to put the seeds in a cheesecloth or a tea strainer ball.
  3. Pour the contents of the bowl into a large pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Continue to cook, stirring the jam constantly, for about 15 minutes. Skim the foam from the surface as the jam cooks.
  4. Drop the heat to medium. Hold the jam at a constant simmer, checking frequently to make sure the jam isn’t scorched at the bottom of the pot. After 15 minutes, check to see if your jam has set by placing a small spoonful of jam on the plate from the freezer. *The rhubarb jam is set when it holds its shape on the cool plate. If it seems loose, continue cooking over medium-low heat until set.
  5. Remove the seed bag and lemon halves and compost them. Place the rhubarb jam in sterilized jars, filling them to the bottom-most ring. Gently tap the bottom of each jar on the counter to release any air bubbles. *Using a damp clean towel, wipe the rims of the jars and secure the lids and rings. Just tight enough so that it is snug, but not too tight. *Process in a water bath for 5 minutes if using pint jars, 10 minutes if using quart jars. Remove the containers with tongs and let cool on the counter. Oh and if you hear a *POP* sound that is totally normal. Actually it’s a good thing. When the jam is cool, remove the metal rings, check for proper seals, and label with the date and contents. Store the rhubarb jam in a cool, dark cupboard until ready to use for up to 1 year.

Tips and tricks

*1. A trick I read on David Lebovitz‘s blog is that pectin thickens at 220 degrees. So if it reaches that temp then you are set. Ha, pun intended
*2. If you have one of those snazzy funnels that has a wide opening you shouldn’t have to wipe the sides down. From what I have read it is because you don’t want food on the rim because it inhibits the lid from sealing correctly.
*3. You don’t know what “process” means? Neither did I. It means to put the jars into a big pot filled with enough boiling water to cover the jars with at least 1 in of water. If you aren’t sure what that is, don’t worry. Just bring the water you do have in there to a boil, put the jars in and fill it up until it is right and bring it to a boil. Once the water is boiling then you can start “processing.”