Strawberry and Roasted Rhubarb Jam and the Classic Version

2014 0617 IMG_4554 Strawberry roasted rhubarb jamAfter the classics come the varietals. For the first two weeks of strawberry season, I stock the pantry with the greatest hits among our strawberry jam repertoire, other than the combination with red currants, which are not yet available. Here’s one of the classics and a variation using roasted instead of boiled rhubarb, which intensifies the rhubarb flavor and consistency and produces a terrific, tangy variation.

What I call my classic strawberry-rhubarb jam is an amiable combination: silky smooth, tangy but more sweet than tart, and dark red. It’s a favorite spread for morning toast. The technique, which I learned from Jeanne Lesem’s Preserving Today, an early 1990s publication that I found in a second hand store. After macerating the strawberries and rhubarb in sugar for 6 hours, you transfer them to a shallow pan and boil rapidly for 4 minutes. Poured into a glass bowl, the mixture sits overnight, which plumps up the fruit. The next day, the juice is drained from the fruit and boiled for a few minutes. Then the fruit is added and boiled some more. The result was a terrific consistency, which probably would not have occurred by boiling alone.

2014 0217 IMG_4518 Strawberries maceratingAlthough there are a few steps to this method, I find that each one is small and not time-consuming. Making small batches of jam thus fits within the rhythm of spurts of cooking over a weekend. It’s not unusual for me even to prepare the jam on the weekend and can it while I’m preparing supper during the week.

2014 0617 IMG_4539 Rhubarb and brown sugarThis year, after making the classic batch, I experimented with the rhubarb since I wanted a tangier version of the jam, one that would give more prominence to the rhubarb. I therefore increased the amount of rhubarb and roasted it with brown sugar until it nearly collapsed. I prepared the strawberries in the same manner as the classic: long macerating period, quick boil, plump overnight, boil the liquid, add the strawberries. Here, I added the cooked rhubarb with the berries at the end of the cooking period. I think this is my favorite strawberry-rhubarb ever because it is so tangy. 

Classic Strawberry Rhubarb Jam technique adapted from Jeanne Lesem

1 qt strawberries (heaping quart)

½ lb rhubarb (2-3 stalks)

1¾ c sugar

1 tbsp lemon juice

Clean and hull the strawberries. Clean and dice the rhubarb into ½-inch pieces. Layer both with sugar in a glass bowl, adding lemon juice along the way. Cover and let sit for 6 hours.

Pour the ingredients into a wide, shallow pan and bring to a boil, cooking rapidly for 4 minutes. Remove to a heatproof glass bowl and let cool. When cooled, cover the bowl and let the mixture sit overnight.

Prepare the canning jars and set a saucer in the freezer for testing the gel.

Drain the juice from the berries and rhubarb, reserving the fruit. Bring the liquid to a boil in a wide shallow pan over medium-high heat. Boil for 4 minutes (it will have started to gel), add the reserved fruit, and boil for another 2-3 minutes or until a small drop placed on the frozen saucer tests for gel.

Ladle the jam into the prepared jars and process in a water bath canner for 10 minutes after the water returns to a boil. Turn off the heater, remove the canner lid and let sit for 5 minutes before removing to the counter to cool, undisturbed.

Makes 3 half-pints (eight-ounce jars) and extra for tasting, or 7 four-ounce jars.

 

Strawberry and Roasted Rhubarb Jam

1 qt strawberries (heaping quart, 1¾ – 2 lbs)

1¼ c sugar (approximately ½ lb)

Juice of one lemon, seeds and peel reserved

3 stalks rhubarb (3/4 lb)

1/3 c brown sugar (not packed)

Day One. Clean and hull the strawberries. In a deep glass or ceramic bowl, layer the berries with sugar and sprinkle them with lemon juice. Tie lemon seeds and a little of the peel in a small muslin sack and sink it into the midst of the berries (this is optional but it improves the gel.). Cover the bowl and macerate the fruit for 6 hours or so. Refrigerate if keeping it overnight.

Place the strawberries and their liquid in a wide shallow pan and bring to a boil. Cook for 4 minutes, pour the ingredients back into the glass bowl and let cool. Refrigerate overnight.

Day Two. Prepare the canning jars and set a saucer in the freezer for testing the gel.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Clean the rhubarb and cut into ½-inch pieces. Sprinkle with brown sugar and roast for about 10 minutes until the rhubarb softens but has not collapsed. Set aside.

Drain the juice from the berries, reserving the fruit and discarding the sack of lemon seeds and peel. Bring the liquid to a boil in a wide shallow pan over medium-high heat. Boil for 4 minutes (it will have started to gel), add the reserved strawberries and rhubarb and boil for another 2-3 minutes or until a small drop placed on the frozen saucer tests for gel.

Ladle the jam into the prepared jars and process in a water bath canner for 10 minutes after the water returns to a boil. Turn off the heater, remove the canner lid and let sit for 5 minutes before removing to the counter to cool, undisturbed.

Makes 3 half-pints (eight-ounce jars) and extra for tasting, or 7 four-ounce jars.

Categories: Berries, Preserving, RhubarbTags: , ,

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s