Summer is just around the corner! And both strawberries and rhubarb are some of the first crops that are ready to harvest around this time. Last weekend I ventured down the street to the farmer’s market and there were pints upon pints of strawberries everywhere! Nothing beats the sweet aroma and taste of fresh-picked strawberries that have warmed up in the sunlight.
I don’t know if I have ever eaten rhubarb before. It looks like swiss chard that has been to the gym – bulkier and stronger. The leaves of rhubarb are apparently poisonous, but the stems are edible. This sort of brings back memories of my wild edible foraging… I think it’s so crazy that we eat the stalks but the leaves that are growing right off of the stalks are poisonous! What?! That’s like, oh yeah you can totally swim in this pool but don’t go over to the deep end past the 5 foot mark because then it becomes a vat of toxic acid.
That might be bit of a dramatic exaggeration. Rhubarb is actually a good source of great source of vitamin K1, which promotes good bone health. And when rhubarb is simmered in sugar alongside fresh strawberries and oranges… mmm summer is coming!!
Now, before I share the recipe with you, I must confess that I made an edit to the recipe when I made the jam. I’ll include the original recipe I found in the book Food in Jars. But who in the world adds FIVE cups of sugar!? All that sugar literally wouldn’t even fit in my pot! I reduced it to three cups, which still seemed like a LOT. And let me tell you, this jam was still so ridiculously sweet. Not sickeningly sweet like that time I made fat free brownies, but sweet enough to feel like you maybe should wash it down with some water or kale juice.
Sugar is super important in jam because:
(1) sugar works with the pectin and fruit acids to form a more solid structure for jam, instead of ending up with syrup.
(2) sugar acts as a preservative to help maintain the gorgeous color of the fruit as well as inhibit any mold growth.
But come one, FIVE CUPS?! I must say, reducing the sugar from five cups to three cups did give me more strawberry rhubarb syrup than jam. It’s still tasty! But only when the sweetness is cut by something less sweet.
This jam/syrup situation is super tasty mixed into oatmeal. I’ve been having it for breakfast every day the past two weeks. Just take some oats, add whatever spices you like (cinnamon, ground cloves, nutmeg, etc.) and a pinch of salt, then add a scoop of protein powder (makin’ them gainz). Pour on some boiling water, stir it all up and you’ve got yourself the true breakfast of champions!
I also put it on pancakes, waffles and toast. I think it’d be delicious on ice cream and cake and maybe even mix some in a smoothie or milkshake or lemonade!
And of course, if you are making batch foods like jam or pickles, it goes without saying that it’s a perfect time to share the love. Get some cute little jars and share your bounty with friends and family. <3
rhubarb jam with strawberries and oranges – makes 5 (1-pint / 500 mL) jars
from Food in Jars by Marisa McClellen
– 6 cups chopped rhubarb (about 2.5 lbs of rhubarb stalks)
– 4 cups chopped strawberries (about 2 dry pints)
– zest and juice of 2 oranges
– 5 cups granulated sugar
– 1 tsp ground cinnamon
– 2 (3-oz / 85 mL) packets of liquid pectin
– Put the jars in a large pot and cover with water. Bring the water to a boil to sanitize the jars while you make the jam.
– Put the lids in a small sauce pan and cover them with water. Bring to a simmer on very low heat.
– In a large pot, combine the rhubarb, strawberries, orange zest and juice, sugar and cinnamon.
– Bring to a boil [there’s enough liquid that gets released from the oranges and strawberries that you don’t need to add any liquid] and then reduce the heat to a simmer.
– Cook the fruit on medium/high heat for ~ 15 to 20 minutes, until the rhubarb is soft enough to squish with the back of a spoon and the jam has a glossy shine.
– Carefully remove the jars with tongs from the pot and let them cool right-side-up on a towel. [No need to dry them as all the water will evaporate in minutes.]
– Turn off the simmering bath for the lids and set those on the towel to dry as well.
– Add the pectin. Increase the heat to high and boil the jam for 5 minutes.
– Remove the pot from the heat and carefully ladle the jam into the jars.
– Wipe the rims clean and put the lids and rings on. Tighten the rings only with your fingertips, so they’re not too tight yet.
– Carefully put the filled jars back into the boiling water bath for 10 minutes to seal them.
– Set the jars on the towel to cool. Once the jars are cooled, you can give the rings on top a tighter squeeze closed.
– Voila! Homemade jam!